It sounds odd but at the same time a bloated Mississippi River was flooding part of George Lacour’s cotton acreage, another portion of his Louisiana cotton was drought-stricken. Months after the season had ended, the Southern Cotton Ginners Association (SCGA) president was still coming to terms with the 2011 growing season.

“It seems a lifetime ago -- so much happened,” said Lacour. “I told someone ‘We went home on Good Friday. We had the tiger by the tail and the world was going great. Then, the next Monday morning after it had rained so much in northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri, everything had gone to hell – and it went to hell quick.’”

Early-planted cotton was lost to floodwaters. “I lost a couple of thousand acres overnight. At the same time, believe it or not, the outside areas of our land were experiencing drought.”

There was hardly time to despair because “there was still another 3,000 acres we were in the middle of trying to plant, harvest, and take care of.”

Facing multiple crises, every day raced by. “Most of May was a blur. We had to take things out of the (Morganza) floodway that we’d accumulated over the last 30 years. We dismantled fuel tanks and sheds and moving equipment. At the same time, we were trying to plant cotton and harvest wheat before the water took it.”

For comprehensive coverage of the 2011 floods, see here.

Lacour’s corn – mostly dryland -- had gotten off to a great start before drought set in. “We ended up making a decent crop, though – 150 bushel range – and sold it for a good price.

“That’s another thing that was going on: the commodity market was going bananas while the flood was occurring. Soybeans were at $13 and corn was at $7. Should you sell more? There was a lot of uncertainty.” 

Lacour had a beautiful bean crop already up. He also had 100 acres of cotton emerged and sold for $1.30 per pound, “which we were ecstatic about. Then, we’re suddenly staring at floodwaters taking it under – that’s very humbling. You’re forced to live life one day at a time.”

Luckily, “we ended up with a pretty good cotton crop. This area averaged about 1.75-bale. The drought got some of it.”