By Maison Brooks-Tolley
UM Journalism Student
Torrential downpours in the Mississippi Delta continue to cause detrimental flooding to farms around the Mississippi River.
For 50 years Stick Young has owned and operated Young Brothers Farm in Greenwood, Mississippi. In all of his years farming the rich Delta soil, Young has only seen flooding like this once before.
“I mean, the rainfall is setting records, and the last time it set records was in 1973,” Young said. “Now we’ve surpassed that for the length of time the water’s been up this high.”
Young normally plants a variety of crops including cotton, corn and soybeans across 5,400 acres of land. But this year, the flooding has created a devastating loss in profit.
“We still have 500 acres to plant, and it doesn’t look like we are going to be able to, which will result in a loss of $250,000,” Young said. “Yields will also be down as a result of delayed planting which could be up to $500,000 in lost revenue.”
According to the Mississippi River Levee Board, more than 200,000 acres of farmland in the state are flooded. With no pumps implemented yet to redirect the water, and more rain to come, Young is worried at how this will ever end.
“There’s a couple of rivers that drain into the Mississippi [River] and they’ve got it blocked off because the Mississippi River is so high,” Young said. “And you know they said they were supposed to put pumps in there, but it’s not going to totally eliminate the problem since the water’s been so high since last August.”
While the Delta usually floods during the springtime, the magnitude of this year’s floods has led Young to consider switching to a higher level of crop insurance.
“I mean you can buy different levels of crop insurance, but we only buy the minimum because, you know, we’ve never had this happen,” Young said. “We’ve been late before, but nothing like this. Nothing that lasts this long.”
According to Mississippi Today, many farmers and community members are calling for the revival of the Yazoo Pumps project in hopes of solving this disaster. Young believes that the pumps would help the area as a whole, but not his land directly.
“To be honest with you, I don’t think anything could be done to prevent floods like this from happening again,” Young said. “Because we’ve been extremely wet since last August, where I’m at, the pumps really wouldn’t do us any good. I mean, our problem is Mississippi River flooding and seep water.”
Despite over a year of extreme wetlands, a projected loss of profit up to $750,000 and no concrete disaster plan, Stick Young still hasn’t lost hope.
“I mean sure I’m frustrated, but there’s no need in getting in any hurry and complaining about nothing that you can’t control,” Young said. “You just gotta keep moving forward.”