Ida Damage to Louisiana Agriculture at Least $584M

October 4, 2021

Hurricane Ida’s winds and floods did at least $584 million in damage to agriculture in Louisiana, experts at the LSU AgCenter estimate.

More than half of that — $315.9 million — is timber damage, with another $207 million, or 35% of the total, in damage to buildings, equipment and other infrastructure, economist Kurt Guidry said.

The estimate doesn’t include severe damage to the seafood industry, which will be estimated by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, according to an AgCenter news release.

Significant damages appear limited to 21 parishes, Guidry wrote. His total includes estimates for damages still to come, including likely increased production costs and reduced yields for crops in the field.

Winds damaged about 168,000 acres of timber, the state’s most lucrative crop, snapping pines and damaging hardwood trees in 11 parishes That accounts for more than $300 million in damages, about half of it in Tangipahoa Parish, Guidry said.

It’s hard to salvage such trees before disease and other problems make them unusable — only 1% to 2% of timber felled by last year’s hurricanes Laura and Delta could be sold, AgCenter economists have estimated. In addition, their earlier report said, so much fallen timber floods the market, hurting prices and sales.

Guidry’s report is based on information from agricultural extension agents and commodity specialists around Louisiana, as well as the state Department of Agriculture and Forestry and the U.S. Forestry Service.

He estimated $169.2 million in damage to farm buildings and equipment, with another $37.9 million in damage to fences.Reduced yields on about 139,000 acres of sugarcane are likely to cost about $35.4 million. Guidry estimated Ida will cost produce and ornamental horticulture about $9.5 million, including $5.9 million in damage to greenhouses and other infrastructure.