Flood conditions imperil thousands of cropland acres in the Delta

As many as 40,000 crop acres could be affected

By George Jared
Talk Business & Politics

The Mississippi River basin continues to swell and those flood water levels are leaving surrounding fields soaked and unable to be worked, leaving farmers months behind and losing money, said Robert Goodson, Phillips County extension agent for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. As many as 40,000 crop acres in the Delta could be directly impacted by the floods. The region has been affected since April, Goodson said.

The high water is more than just the Mississippi leaving its banks. The river water is soaking through the soil that makes up Arkansas’ Delta growing region, penetrating the Mississippi River Valley alluvial aquifer that underlays parts of eastern Arkansas, southeast Missouri, northeastern Louisiana, western Tennessee and western Mississippi.

The water source has been critical for Arkansas agriculture. In 2000, an estimated 34 billion liters of water a day was withdrawn from the aquifer, according to estimates. Farmers have relied on it for decades to provide irrigation — giving water when the pumps go one.

Since the Mississippi River has been flooding, Goodson and others have found, that water is coming up those pumps unbidden, as the Mississippi River waters put pressure on underground supplies. The water has to go somewhere, and the holes punched through the soil for the wells provides an easy outlet. READ MORE.

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