Mississippi River floods farmland

LAKE PROVIDENCE (AP) — The Mississippi River is again flooding about 8,500 acres of farmland in East Carroll Parish’s Bunches Bend, which had a huge levee failure in 2011 that wiped out $10 million in crops.

The 2011 breach on the levee’s northern end was fixed, but a gap remains on the southern end where the rising river is depositing water again.

Ted Schneider, who had planted a 430-acre stand of corn before the flooding began, said, “When the river reaches 42 feet everything will be under water.”

The river is forecast to crest at 43 feet at Vicksburg, Miss., on May 15.

The 18-mile levee surrounding Bunches Bend was built in 1912 and was once the mainline levee protecting Louisiana. It had never been overtopped before the 2011 flood.

When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed a new mainline levee in 1936, it cut off the Bunches Bend area, leaving a 10,000-acre tract of rich farmland surrounded by the old levee.

About 8,500 acres is farmed.

Although this spring’s rise will likely destroy the early crops planted in March, all isn’t lost.

Parker and Schneider said if the river recedes by June, all of the land could be planted in late soybeans and grain sorghum.

“The best crops we have are still in the box,” Schneider said.

Fifth Louisiana Levee District President Reynold Minsky said the river could drop quickly after the crest if more rain doesn’t fall in the Ohio Valley.

“Hopefully, it will fall out by June 1, which is plenty of time to get soybeans in the ground, but it all depends on what happens in the Ohio Valley between now and then,” Minsky said.

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