The damage and disruption caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have long effects, rippling into slowed exports, higher fertilizer and diesel prices and a likely rise in demand for Arkansas forest products, said economists with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
“Both Harvey and Irma hit ag where it hurt. Wind and water ruined harvested crops and spawned wet cattle drives in Texas. Where harvest had not occurred in states like Arkansas, the two storms caused flooding, crop lodging or otherwise brought too much of something that wouldn’t be helpful in the end stages of the growing season,” officials said.
As the shipping industry moved to secure itself against Harvey, commodity movement saw some disruption.
The good news is that “as far as ag infrastructure goes, grain elevators, nitrogen plants and shipping infrastructure at the Louisiana Gulf was largely undamaged by Hurricane Harvey,” said Scott Stiles, extension economist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
Union Pacific reported 1,750 miles of track out of service because of Harvey and a total 2,440 miles were affected, but as of Thursday, all but 50 miles of track are out of service with 420 route miles affected.
“Rail movement is recovering and shipping traffic re-opened through the Houston Ship Channel and the Ports of Houston and Galveston on Sept. 1,” he said. “But, certainly in the week following Hurricane Harvey export shipments of commodities were noticeably slower.”
Thursday’s Export Sales report from the U. S. Department of Agriculture showed there were signs of…
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