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Citrus farmers prepare for potential impact of saltwater intrusion

By Elizabeth Kuebel

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    PLAQUEMINES PARISH, Louisiana (WDSU) — The impact of saltwater intrusion could be felt by area farmers. Some are concerned for their livelihood.

Ricky Becnel, the owner of Saxon Becnel & Sons citrus nursery, said he is very concerned about the saltwater situation and is taking it day by day.

His nursery spans 20 acres with a little shy of half a million trees growing.

For more than two decades, he’s pulled fresh water right out of the Mississippi River to feed every single one of his crops. But now, salt is creeping upriver.

“Now the realization of hey, that we’re running out of this precious resource, we’re very worried,” Becnel said.

Becnel said he’s been monitoring the water, and the salinity levels are still safe for him to use right now, but he’s preparing for the worst-case scenario. He has a plan to readjust how he waters if the situation does get dire.

“If it does get more severe, we will water only with this micro drip system, and it will be on the root system only, and the plant that we’ve been told it can handle twice the salinity than if you use overhead water and wet the leaves and then uptake, this toxic salinity problem is not going to be good,” Becnel said.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

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