LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Tenn. — Thursday’s storms created a disaster of another sort for farms in the Mid-South.
Along Highway 19, west of Ripley, Tennessee, farmers are moving expansive equipment to higher ground while some are building earthen levees to keep the rising Mississippi River from invading farmland.
It’s a battle many in the Lauderdale County “bottoms” have fought before.
“I lost a lot in ’15, lost in ’11, lost in ’18 and we’ve lost in ’19. So we’re just constantly getting flooded out,” farmer Keith Webb said.
Webb is one of forty farmers trying to find a dry space of land in what’s considered a “high risk” area. He usually farms cotton and soybeans, but his land now looks more like a beach front property.
The ground has been saturated since late October, and it’s getting to late to make a crop.
Webb wishes the ground would dry up, not his profit margin.
“It’s hard to put a total number on it. We usually gross around $600 an acre, and I’ve got over $2,000 acres underwater. So that’s a pretty big number.”
But for lack of a better term, all of the flooding caused a “trickle-down” effect on agri-businesses, like Sanders Incorporated in Ripley, Tennessee.
“All cotton, corn and soybeans should be in the ground. They’ve been late planted. Some are underwater again, so we’ll see if they’ll be replanted,” Chris Redding, with Sanders Incorporated, said.
He says the longer the water sticks around, the less the chances are for anything to grow.