Cattle ranchers face tough decisions if flood waters don't recede soon

Cattle ranchers face tough decisions if flood waters don't recede soon
64 cows are stranded on the levee until the flood waters drain. (Source: Victoria Shirley/KSLA News 12)
64 cows are stranded on the levee until the flood waters drain. (Source: Victoria Shirley/KSLA News 12)

CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Flooding is not only threatening homes in the ArkLaTex, but also area ranchers and farmers who are trying to keep their cattle alive. Thousands of acres of cattle pastures are under water right now in North Caddo Parish.

What looks like a bayou on either side of I-49 in North Caddo Parish is actually flooded cattle pastures owned by Donnie Leflett.

"Where you see water, is pasture," said Leflett pointing to his flooded land. He has 6,000 to 7,000 acres of land under water.

Leflett, his family and workers spent much of the last week in flood waters, moving 600 cattle to dry land.

"The main thing we wanted to do was keep them alive and get them to higher ground," he said.

So far he has lost 3 cows.

"Could have been a lot worse than it was," he said.

But not all cattle were in a position to be moved to dry pastures.

"There is a 64 head trapped on a levee over there, we pushed them that was the only high ground we could get them to," he said.

Leflett gave KSLA News 12 a ride to see the stranded cattle. On the way, we passed more flooded pastures that looked more like lakes and drove on roads covered with water. Once at the levee, we saw cattle taking full advantage of the dry land.

"What this water does in the next four or five days will determine if it makes you breaks you for the whole year," Leflett said.

Leflett is hoping to ride out the flood, but if the water doesn't go down soon he will have to make some hard decisions about selling the cattle, to prevent financial losses.

"It is how we make a living, we send kids to school, pay insurance, buy groceries," he said.

When everything dries out, Leflett says they'll need to get to work again: fixing fences, growing grass, and getting the pastures back in shape. 
In order for the pastures to drain, both the Red River and 12 Mile Bayou need to go down.

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