Warren among 78 counties included in Ag Department’s disaster declaration

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Warren is one of 78 of the state’s 82 counties included Tuesday in a disaster declaration by the U.S. Department of Agriculture because of spring flooding and summer drought.

Yields of corn and soybeans suffered due to late-season flooding on the Mississippi River followed by a dry early summer that led to substantial crop losses, Warren County Extension Agent John Coccaro said.

“There were some quality losses, as well,” Coccaro said. “Corn and soybeans were the predominant crops across the county.”

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Cliff Burroughs, who farms soybeans off Mississippi 465 near the Yazoo River in north Warren County, described the year as typical, yet challenging.

“As usual, we flood around here,” Burroughs said, referring to stages on the Mississippi that topped out at 47.5 feet May 27 — flooding about 394,000 acres inside the Yazoo Backwater Area. About 152,000 of those acres are cleared for farming. Flood stage on the Mississippi at Vicksburg is 43 feet.

“It was tough getting the crop planted. It was dry, then the rain started, gave us a decent crop. There’s no end to this stuff,” Burroughs said.

Forecasts for next year indicate a crop mix dominated by corn and soybeans, Coccaro said, aided by “phenomenal” demand for corn due to its use in ethanol production.

Parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee were included in the disaster area by the federal agency due to crop losses. To qualify for the declaration, counties and parishes in the five states had to show at least 30 percent crop damage. The declaration qualifies many farmers in the designated areas for low interest emergency loans from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Farmers have up to eight months to apply for low-interest loans.

If approved for the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program, or SURE, farmers could receive payments to help make up for revenue losses not covered by crop insurance. Farmers must have insurance. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs.  Additional information is also available online at:  http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

Warren County’s service center is at 2660 Sherman Ave.


Contact Danny Barrett Jr. at dbarrett@vicksburgpost.com