Pick up know-how for tackling diseases, pests and weeds.
Farm bill, farm marketing, agribusiness webinars, & farm policy.
Find tactics for healthy livestock and sound forages.
Scheduling and methods of irrigation.
Explore our Extension locations around the state.
Commercial row crop production in Arkansas.
Agriculture weed management resources.
Use virtual and real tools to improve critical calculations for farms and ranches.
Learn to ID forages and more.
Explore our research locations around the state.
Get the latest research results from our county agents.
Our programs include aquaculture, diagnostics, and energy conservation.
Keep our food, fiber and fuel supplies safe from disaster.
Private, Commercial & Non-commercial training and education.
Specialty crops including turfgrass, vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals.
Find educational resources and get youth engaged in agriculture.
Gaining garden smarts and sharing skills.
Timely tips for the Arkansas home gardener.
Creating beauty in and around the home.
Maintenance calendar, and best practices.
Coaxing the best produce from asparagus to zucchini.
What’s wrong with my plants? The clinic can help.
Featured trees, vines, shrubs and flowers.
Ask our experts plant, animal, or insect questions.
Enjoying the sweet fruits of your labor.
Herbs, native plants, & reference desk QA.
Growing together from youth to maturity.
Crapemyrtles, hydrangeas, hort glossary, and weed ID databases.
Get beekeeping, honey production, and class information.
Grow a pollinator-friendly garden.
Schedule these timely events on your gardening calendar.
Equipping individuals to lead organizations, communities, and regions.
Guiding communities and regions toward vibrant and sustainable futures.
Guiding entrepreneurs from concept to profit.
Position your business to compete for government contracts.
Find trends, opportunities and impacts.
Providing unbiased information to enable educated votes on critical issues.
Increase your knowledge of public issues & get involved.
Research-based connection to government and policy issues.
Support Arkansas local food initiatives.
Read about our efforts.
Preparing for and recovering from disasters.
Licensing for forestry and wildlife professionals.
Preserving water quality and quantity.
Cleaner air for healthier living.
Firewood & bioenergy resources.
Managing a complex forest ecosystem.
Read about nature across Arkansas and the U.S.
Learn to manage wildlife on your land.
Soil quality and its use here in Arkansas.
Learn to ID unwanted plant and animal visitors.
Timely updates from our specialists.
Eating right and staying healthy.
Ensuring safe meals.
Take charge of your well-being.
Cooking with Arkansas foods.
Making the most of your money.
Making sound choices for families and ourselves.
Nurturing our future.
Get tips for food, fitness, finance, and more!
Understanding aging and its effects.
Giving back to the community.
Managing safely when disaster strikes.
Listen to our latest episode!
By Ryan McGeeney U of A System Division of AgricultureMay 5, 2017
(923 words)(Download a MS Word version of this story here.)
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas farmers who speedily planted rice in places where it hadn’t
been for years, may suffer a double whammy both from losses due to flooding and the
tight restrictions for replanting placed on them by the 2014 Farm Bill.
Arkansas has suffered record flooding from heavy rain that fell April 28-30 and was
followed up by additional rain Wednesday and Thursday.
Jarrod Hardke, extension rice agronomist for the University of Arkansas System Division
of Agriculture, said at least 100,000 acres of rice planted in April was likely lost
to flooding, and at about 200,000-300,000 additional acres of planted rice would likely
be adversely affected as cresting waters in the Black, White, Cache, Current and St.
Francis rivers continue south through the state.
“Every indication we have is that it’s not just going to get worse, it’s going to
get far worse than we expected it to be just a day ago,” Hardke said Tuesday.
“And we haven’t even gotten to the ‘downstream’ conversation yet,” he said, noting
that as various major rivers converge, they may exceed their banks and levees and
cause flooding, even in areas that have not received the torrential rainfall seen
in the northern counties of the state.
Farmers are no strangers to dealing with crop loss, whether due to weather or other
factors beyond their control. When the loss comes this early in the season, replanting
is often the go-to strategy for recouping as much of a grower’s initial investment
as possible — and is, in fact, required by many crop loss insurance policies.
An estimated 1.2 million acres of rice were expected to be planted this year, some
of it in areas that hadn’t hosted the crop in years, such as seldom-dry river bottoms
and flood plains that growers have typically planted with soybeans.
Arkansas growers suffered similar flooding in 2011, but this year’s flooding will
likely be much more financially painful because almost twice as much rice is already
in the ground this season. According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s
National Agricultural Statistics Service, about 45 percent of planned rice acreage
had been planted before the major flooding in late April, 2011. This year, about 89
percent of planned rice acreage is already in the ground.
“There’s a huge difference between having to take ‘prevented planting,’ — just not
being able to get a crop in the ground — and having a crop in and growing, with all
the costs associated with that already having been spent, and then lose it,” Hardke
said. “It’s a drastic difference, when it comes down to the potential devastation
to these farming operations.”
Crop insurance, the Farm Bill and rice
According to data from the USDA’s Risk Management Agency, more than 8,000 crop insurance
policies were sold to cover rice operations in Arkansas for the 2017 growing season.
About 1,670 of those plans are for catastrophic coverage, meaning growers can recoup
about 50 percent of the estimated market revenue of the lost crop. The rest of the
policies are “buy-up” policies, with higher coverage levels and premium costs.
New language in the 2014 farm bill, however, may put rice growers in a bind, as the
end of the optimum planting window approaches.
“The new language regarding when it is ‘practical to replant’ stipulates that as long
as it’s practical to replant — all the way to the end of the late planting period
— you’re required to replant in the same crop,” Hardke said.
Replanting a lost rice crop with additional rice runs counter to the historical habits
of many growers, who prefer to replant with soybeans or other crops that have later
optimum planting windows, he said. Requiring growers to plant rice well into the first
and second weeks of June would likely mean a steep loss in yield potential.
“May 25 is considered the final optimum planting date for rice in the mid-south,”
Hardke said. “The window extends for another 15 days after that. So until mid-June,
you’re required by the rules of the crop insurance to replant rice — the problem is,
planting rice in the middle of June essentially locks you into the expectation of
a 30 percent lower-than-optimum yield, compared to planting in early April. And that’s
nowhere close to being reasonable — or profitable.”
“That part of the language is potentially going to have a very negative effect on
our rice growers,” he said.
Robert Coats, professor of economics for the University of Arkansas System Division
of Agriculture, led a team of agricultural economists and other farm policy experts
in a widespread effort to educate growers about changes in the 2014 Farm Bill before
important crop loss insurance deadlines. He advised all growers dealing with flooding
to immediately contact their crop insurance agent and file claims, so that agents
can begin making determinations.
Soybean growers face scare seed
While the state’s largest crop, soybeans, may not be as deeply affected as rice, with
about 45 percent of an estimated 3.5 million acres already planted, the record-high
acreage may have additional consequences for growers who do intend to replant in soybeans:
scarcity of seed.
“We were expecting to have the highest soybean acreage we’ve had since 1998,” Hardke
said. “Usually, at this point in a crop loss situation, everybody starts looking to
soybeans again. But when planted acres are already high, seed supplies get tight,
so finding viable best options for that is going to be tougher.”
To learn more about row crops and flood preparedness and recovery, contact your local
Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex,
gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital
or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and
is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
# # #
Media Contact: Mary HightowerDir. of Communication ServicesU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) email@example.com