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Arkansas loss near quarter billion dollars

A wetter-than-normal growing season has cut into Arkansas’ farm receipts by more than $224.8 million as of Nov. 1, according to a preliminary report issued by the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

The report is a snapshot of current conditions and the dollar amount is expected to grow as harvest progresses.

“There are some farmers that are devastated by the events of this growing season,” Eric Wailes, professor of agricultural economics and agribusiness, said today. “We want to be sure that is recognized and reflected in the estimates in the report.”

The report, created by Wailes, Scott Stiles, instructor of agricultural economics; Brad Watkins, associate professor of agricultural economics; and Jeffrey Hignight, a program associate at the Rice Research and Extension Center in Stuttgart; is based on data from USDA, the National Agricultural Statistical Service, current marketing prices, quality loss estimates from local elevators, and yield loss and additional fieldwork from Extension specialists from the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

The report showed cotton, both lint and seed, to be the biggest loser in terms of dollars, with an estimated reduction in gross receipts of $115.5 million.

Rice was next with a $50.03 million loss, followed by soybeans at $49.29 million. Sorghum lost $5.75 million, followed by corn, with an estimated $4.1 million loss.

An estimate released last week placed the expected end-of-season total harvest damage at $650 million; the Division of Agriculture’s estimate is a rolling number based on current conditions.

Losses and damage caused by a rainy spring and October’s record rainfall have prompted disaster declarations that include 60 of Arkansas’ 75 counties.

“What we are hoping for is to provide the most comprehensive and objective set of estimates available for members of congress in D.C., as well as state personnel who will have to respond to farmers’ requests for disaster assistance,” Wailes said.

The division is using the resources it has “in terms of people out in the field, with the expertise in knowing what the extent of the damage is and what the recovery costs are likely to be, with an understanding of what’s happening on the price and value side, as well as value added,” he said. Weather conditions have also affected hay and horticultural crops and estimates of this damage will be included in future assessments.

“The report is the first of a series of situation analyses to be issued by the U of A Division of Agriculture, due to the problems of the 2009 season,” said Milo Shult, vice president of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. “This is an extraordinary season that we believe requires an extraordinary response.”

“In next week’s report, we plan to have an assessment of the downstream effects,” Wailes said. The report would include the impact of a reduced crop on processing, services and transportation.

“We will follow this situation until the end of the harvest season, when we’ll have a comprehensive report,” he said.

The report is available at

TAGS: Management
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