Katrina causes $900M in crop damage

Sept. 21, 2005 at 1:53 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Hurricane Katrina caused an estimated $900 million in crop damage, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday.

The Agriculture Department said about 4 percent of the cotton crop in Alabama and Mississippi, and 9 percent of Louisiana's sugar cane crop were lost. Also affected, but not as badly, were corn, rice and soybean crops, USDA said in a release.

The department said millions of chickens and some 10,000 cattle were killed and dairy producers had to dump about $3 million worth of milk due to power outages. Short-term livestock losses totaled about $30 million.

The $900 million in lost production represents nearly 5 percent of last year's total farm receipts and does not take in account long-term losses.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said, "Given the severity of the hurricane, the agricultural losses could have been much greater. With that said, there is along road ahead for many of our producers who face infrastructure and long-term losses not accounted for in this assessment."

Drought-related losses in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin totaled some $1.3 billion, mostly in damage to corn and soybean crops.

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