USDA's early estimates are that Hurricane Katrina did nearly $900 million in damage to U.S. ag production. But the storm was outdone by the summer drought in the central Corn Belt. Dry conditions in this region were responsible for nearly $1.3 billion in corn and soybean crop losses alone.
Corn losses were concentrated in Illinois and Missouri, with no measurable losses in Indiana or Ohio, USDA reports.
The damage estimate for Katrina covered only 2005 crop and livestock production losses in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee and did not include damage to infrastructure or long-term losses. Corn and soybean losses were estimated at $31 million, with short-term livestock losses at $30 million. Cotton losses in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana were estimated at $40 million.