Recent flooding in Louisiana costs ranchers time, money

Recent flooding in Louisiana costs ranchers time, money

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Following the recent flooding, farmers and ranchers have a long road to recovery ahead of them, especially when it comes to livestock.

The Louisiana Farm Bureau said well over 10,000 cattle were displaced by the recent flooding.

Fleeing widespread flood waters, most of the livestock have been rounded up to river levees and higher ground. The hardest part will be getting them food.

"It's been a real challenge just to find a place to put those cattle," said Carey Martin, coordinator of the Farm Bureau Hay Clearinghouse. "And once you get them to higher ground, then you have to feed them, because all of the cattle pastures that they were on are under water."

Martin said most ranchers have been using air boats to get the food and hay to their livestock, and many of them are fortunate to have saved most of their livestock. The LSU Ag Center estimates that around 200 head of cattle died in the flooding. The damage and extra work will take a financial toll.

"In terms of increased transportation costs and moving cattle, lost grazing days and increased feeding costs… and the cattle that we have lost, that we know have died because of the storm. We could easily be up in the two to three million dollar range," said Kurt Guidry, a professor and economist with the LSU Ag Center.

And the worst part may be what's still to come. Ranchers will be supporting their cattle like this until the water recedes, and then they can start to recover.

"We're going to feel the effects of this well into the summer," Martin said. "Once those pastures that have been covered with water. Once that water does go away, it's going to take probably a month for that grass to recover, and that's going to cut down on the amount of grazing that's available."

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