U.S. Agriculture after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: Status and Issues [Updated October 5, 2005] [open pdf - 588KB]
"On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast region coming ashore just east of New Orleans. On September 24, 2005, Hurricane Rita hit the Gulf Coast region making land fall near the border of Texas and Louisiana. Both hurricanes left behind widespread devastation. Rita appears to have done most of its damage to energy infrastructure off-shore in contrast to Katrina which devastated large swaths of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. This report examines the impact of these hurricanes on three important factors affecting the U.S. agricultural sector: marketing infrastructure based on the Mississippi River waterway and Gulf ports; production losses for major crop and livestock producers in the affected region; and potential consequences for agricultural production as a result of high energy costs. It also discusses the federal government response to agricultural concerns. Agricultural producers from the states directly impacted by Katrina have suffered economic losses, although this varies greatly by crop and locality. Preliminary estimate by USDA is that Hurricane Katrina contributed to $882 million in total crop, livestock, and aquaculture losses. Those activities most affected were aquaculture ($151 million), sugar cane ($50 million), and cotton ($40 million). The damage estimate does not include losses in timber and nursery and greenhouse products. No preliminary estimate has been released by USDA concerning agricultural damage from Hurricane Rita."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33075
National Agricultural Law Center http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org/crs/