The full impact on Louisiana agriculture is yet to be tallied, says Mike Strain, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Commissioner. “We’re doing reconnaissance, documenting the amount of crop damage.”

Kurt Guidry, LSU AgCenter agricultural economist, will help with the number crunching. “We’re still gathering information on damage to Louisiana agriculture. Some very rough, preliminary estimates – about $92 million in our major row crops -- have been put together. That figure is strictly an estimate for yield loss and doesn’t include things like increased production costs, quality issues we’ll see. It also doesn’t include livestock losses.

“Isaac went through our major sugarcane-growing areas. We know cane producers will be facing losses, cost of production impacts for the next planting.”

For an update on Louisiana’s cane crop post-Isaac, see here.

The parishes in the southeast, in terms of wind and rain amounts, were the hardest hit. Some experienced some storm surge and quite a bit of flooding.

“Right now, we’re working with our parish (Extension) offices,” says Guidry. “Agents, with production specialists, are going out and conducting physical assessments in the field. They’re providing us with reports.

“Hopefully, we’ll have more detailed numbers at the end of this week.”

Meanwhile, the LDAF is working a number of things simultaneously, including emergency operations.

“We’re still in the search, rescue and stabilization mode,” says Strain. “Yesterday (September 3), 195 head of cattle were brought out of Plaquemines Parish. Seventy head were pulled from debris fields and put on dry ground.

“We’ve flown two days of air missions where bales of hay were dropped from Blackhawk helicopters. The Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association members have provided hay and feed for emergencies.

“Right now, we’re doing salinity tests on water where cattle are stranded.

“Later, I’ll be looking at some of the areas where we grow produce. Tangipahoa Parish has some extensive damage.”