Farmer moves cattle out of direct path of Morganza Spillway floodwaters

Farmer moves cattle out of direct path of Morganza Spillway floodwaters
(Source: Taylor Frey)

MORGANZA, La. (WAFB) - More than 350 acres where cattle graze are in the direct path of the Morganza Spillway floodwaters. It’s why Ricky Rivet Farms spent their morning moving nearly 200 cows and calves.

“I don’t want to do this at all, but it’s something I have to do. I mean, this is the reality. This is going to happen and I have to do it,” said Ricky Rivet, owner of Ricky Rivet Farms.

Rivet’s reality is that the Morganza Spillway gates will open and his farm is directly on the other side of the structure. Cows and calves graze the nearly 350 acres that are in the path of the floodwaters.

“Today, we just moving all the cattle, all the cows and calves. It’s about 200 head cow and calves. We moving them to a pasture that a friend has, that a friend is going to let me use for a couple of months. Then I move them back, but not right now. I have to rebuild all the fence to move them back,” said Rivet.

Plus, Rivet says moving the calves stresses them out, meaning they won’t put on as much weight. Calves are sold by the pound in the fall. He’s already expecting a hit to his bottom line, not to mention another 300 plus acres of soybeans he will lose and the roots of sugarcane crops that will be destroyed.

“It’s a huge financial burden on us when they operate the Morganza Spillway, huge,” said Rivet.

Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain says in total, 25,000 acres will be impacted by the bays opening. Nearly 10,000 acres are crops, and the remaining are timber and cattle.

“We’re dealing with Mother Nature and we’re also dealing with the fact that more water is coming. At the end of the day, we have to keep the Mississippi River from over topping its banks and to do this, we have to do certain things because if it over tops its banks, we can lose the levee, we can lose the control structure, and then you would have catastrophic flooding,” said Strain.

At this point, officials have no choice but to relieve the Mississippi River by using the Morganza Spillway.

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