SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — According to the LSU Ag Center, Hurricane Laura has caused more than 1.6 billion dollars worth of damage. Timber is the biggest industry in the state and it suffered a 1.1 billion dollar lost. In Northwest Louisiana, timber saw a 100 million dollar lost. “Hurricane Laura produced more damage to agricultural than Rita and Katrina,” said Bossier Parish Extension Agent Valerie West.
Calcasieu Parish had the highest forestry acreage damage total of 188,292 acres, but the lost timber value was estimated at $76.7 million.
For row crops, cotton and corn were some of the crops affected by Hurricane Laura. Corn saw the highest losses because it was time for harvesting. “99% of the crop was impacted,” said West. The state’s rice crop suffered the most out of the row crops. With 74,000 acres affected, it led to a $28.5 million dollar impact.
Some Northwest Louisiana farmers didn’t see much damage to their crops like farmers in South Louisiana. For Drew Leffler, he is blessed it wasn’t worse. “We knew there was a chance the cotton crops could stand back up. We are lucky Laura changed course before arriving in Shreveport Bossier,” said Leffler.
For the damaged trees in the state, some of the timber could be salvaged. Once the moisture inside the bark dries out the tree becomes no good. It is possible to see an increase in the demand and price for wood supplies in the future. “COVID-19 has driven up the market price because people are at home doing home projects,” said West.