# 380, Sept 24, 2005
COLUMBUS: Those folks along the Gulf coast sure didn’t need another hurricane. Texas was ready for it, and they left town, or tried to till the roads filled with parked cars. Even Louisiana learned a lesson from Katrina and there was no one left below sea level when Rita hit the shore. Worst of the wind is over, but if it rains for 3 more days keep your boat gassed up. At least the Mississippi River is low and in need of more water.
You’ve been hearing all about the cities, but flooding hurt the farmers, too. Cotton and soybeans got ruined on thousands and thousands of acres. It’s extra painful for a farmer to have a crop full grown and ready for the picker and see it drowned or flattened by wind. Katrina cost ’em over a billion dollars, and Rita will likely add at least a half billion to the bill.
In Louisiana they say we’re not sending enough soil down the Mississippi to replenish their coastline. Now, we’ve been sending our topsoil down there for centuries, and our farmers have decided they would rather keep it up here in the Midwest and use it themselves. You go back in history far enough you’ll find the lower half of Louisiana was under water, and it was only the generosity of the upper Mississippi River and all its tributaries that contributed a sufficient amount of mud to build it up to where real estate salesmen could persuade a man to build a house on it.
Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns was in Ohio Tuesday. Said he was here to listen to farmers, and he did, too. He talked for ten minutes then sat there and let the farmers talk for two hours. The young folks asked him to make it easier for them to get started in farming, but none of the old farmers offered to take less for their land.
Farmers in favor of soil conservation say they would prefer to receive a few dollars to help buy no-till machinery rather than getting a tax subsidy of a few cents a bushel for their crops. If Mr. Johanns follows up on that one, Louisiana may have to use their own top soil to raise their coastline.
Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
(Note: on this one just substitute Louisiana for Florida)
“We have been awful lax on that Florida situation. You see it just got worse and worse, and there wasent the response that there should have been. It don’t show a very healthy condition when we get in the condition that we are thinking more about politics than we are about the down and out of our own people. You see Florida was unfortunate in that it was the second time the same territory had needed help. It was just the psychology of the thing, helping the same fellow twice… It was not that it was Florida’s fault, but human nature is a funny thing and the minute something happened down there they begin to think what they had given to the same State (previously).
But my Lord it might happen to any community a dozen times and that would not lessen the need. They have had hard luck down there and they don’t deserve it.” WA #302, Oct. 7, 1928