Tornado damage to farms in northeastern Arkansas could reach millions

2021-12-14 23:20:02 By : Ms. Echo Wong

The tornado on Friday night could cause millions of dollars in losses to agricultural operations in northeastern Arkansas, with the Adams Land Company of Litchville (Mississippi County) bearing the brunt.

When it opened in 1991, it claimed to have the world’s largest cotton gin. The family business Adams in the northern part of the town’s business district had several buildings whose walls and roofs were cut off, allowing the cotton to be blown back to the nearby area and harvested a few weeks ago. Fields.

Steve Eddington, spokesperson for the Arkansas Agricultural Bureau Federation, said on Monday: "I have seen aerial photos around Adams and [this fall] these fields look like they have never been harvested." strangeness."

Eddington said that insurance adjusters from the Department of Agriculture are busy processing claims in Mississippi, Craighead, Poinsett, and Woodruff counties. He said: "I think if there is room for upward movement, there will be no crops in the field." "What can be harvested has already been harvested."

In a subsequent email, Eddington wrote: "Please rest assured that the impact on agriculture will be huge (structures, equipment, facilities, etc.). We are very lucky. On the one hand, the harvest is almost always It has been completed, although there are also crops stored in damaged buildings. All these conditions make it difficult for us to approach a rough figure."

On Monday, the State Department of Emergency Services estimated that 300 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed. The department stated that there is no financial estimate yet.

Adams' long-term office and farm manager, Sandra Kennett, said on Monday that when the tornado hit, 30 workers at the gin distillery were not injured, nor were other workers.

"They just started shifting," Kennett said. "We have been practicing'what would you do if the storm hits?' So everyone in the gin went into some kind of basement-really a gin pit-when the lights went out."

Kennett said that workers who had taken refuge in the gin distillery and nearby trucking operations could hear the chatter of piles of gravel on the house "covering the building." "Every car and every window of every truck in the parking lot was blown up."

Charles "Boe" Adams, a native of Litchville, died in 2010. After retiring, he invested millions of dollars in his hometown, including the purchase of the former BC Land Company in 1985. He bought thousands of acres of farmland and built a commercial office on the east side of Manor Town.

The new cotton gin he built at the renamed Adams Land Company has 10 racks-a large machine that separates cotton fibers and seeds. An ordinary gin has two stalls; Adams said at the time it was the largest gin in the world.

"I think it is still one of the biggest, at least, it runs as well as it used to be, with about 2,500 packs per day this fall," Kennett said.

Kennett said the Adams Land Company grows cotton on approximately 50,000 acres in northeastern Arkansas and neighboring Missouri, including approximately 28,000 acres that it owns and leases to farmers. Kennett said that at the peak of the ginning season, it had about 100 employees.

"Although it is bad for Adams Land Company, it is worse for the people and farmers in Leachville and other communities," she said.

She said that although most of the cotton-about 1,000 modules still on the ground-were blown back to the surrounding fields, there is still some cotton left on the land that may still be saved. "Other ginners have offered to help us as best they can," she said. "Everyone is very generous."

Adams "is already in the process of rebuilding," Kennett said. "We will come again next year."

Leechville native and state senator David Wallace said on Monday that several buildings at the north end of Main Street were severely damaged or destroyed.

One of the buildings that may be destroyed is his own: it is the location of the natural disaster recovery business. Located on Main Street and Doc Rodman Street, this building was one of the first banks in the town decades ago.

Wallace said that Wallace only recently moved his business from the old bank building to an area in Litchville that was not hit by a tornado. He said that another building owned by Wallace used to be a coin-operated laundry room, which was severely damaged even if it was not destroyed.

He said: “The awnings and siding of a section of the building in the city center were blown away, exposing the old brickwork and corporate logos about a hundred years ago.” “I’m 73 years old and I’ve never heard of these companies. ."

The tornado also destroyed a Dollar General store across the Adams Gin Highway, resulting in the death of its assistant manager. Wallace said the Dollar General store is the only basic grocery store in Litchville. The tornado also razed the Big Butts Barbecue, a restaurant owned by Leachville Mayor Rodney Robertson, next to Dollar General.

He said that the downtown buildings where Candie's Beauty Shop and Delta Auto Parts are located were also damaged.

"For Leachville and Monette [10 miles southwest], we were hit in areas with fewer houses," Wallace said. "The Lord blessed us for this."

When the tornado circumvented the northern edge of the town and hit Monnet Manor, a nursing home, one person died in Monnet, and then continued northeast to Litchville and the Arkansas-Missouri line, 4 miles north.

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