Farmers, Ranchers Bracing For Impacts From Flooding; Health Risks Rise
FORT SMITH (KFSM) — Historic crests are expected along the Arkansas River in the coming weeks and it will impact farm land throughout the state.
Many farmers with fields and cattle pastures along the river way have spent the past several days moving equipment and livestock as the waters rise, according to the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.
How much it could impact Arkansas’ planting season is unknown.
Pope County farmer Leslie Oats paused for a few moments since Tuesday (May 22). Oats grows row crops and hay and has been moving equipment for nearly a week.
“Between the row crop and the hay operation, we probably have 60 man hours in pulling pumps and moving equipment to higher locations,” he said as of Saturday. “Then find out they upped (the river forecast) and then moving equipment to new locations. We’ve been at it for the third day.”
Oats has high quality hay that’s ready for harvest, but there isn’t the manpower or time to clear the fields.
Farmers could feel the impacts in other ways, too. Fertilizer is carried up and down the river by barges, and barge traffic could be impacted for several months.
Debris and disease-causing bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella could also have significant impacts, according to UA scientists.
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