Nueces County Texas A&M Agrilife Extension calls this a “disaster.”
Corpus Christi, Texas – When we hear the word “disaster” we may think of a hurricane or a flood, but what farmers and ranchers are suffering with this drought has been devastating.
For the majority of crops across Coastal Bend, they’re seeing 25% to 50% less than normal, Jaime Lopez of Nueces County Texas A&M Agrilife Extension told 3NEWS.
“This is a disaster,” Lopez said. “We’ve had 100°C a day, and we’ve had months and months without rain. We desperately need moisture for next year.”
Lopez went on to say that this is the nature of the beast when it comes to living in southern Texas. “Last year, we had one of the wettest years we’ve had in 30 years, and this is one of the driest we’ve had in the past 10 to 12 years,” he added.
Having to experience a drastic difference within 12 months is heartbreaking. Especially for farmers and ranchers like Scott Frazier who have to rely heavily on crop insurance.
“In our cattle, our grass is short, the hay is poor in width, we’ve filtered a lot of cows, so we don’t have nearly as many as we have, and that’s pretty much all over Texas now,” Frazier explained.
Frazier hopes that crop insurance will get over the hump if they don’t have the returns they need. “We have tried to monitor our inputs closely and do a minimum of herbicides, fertilizers and pesticides.”
The USDA also introduced the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program, ELAP, which provides financial assistance to producers for losses caused by adverse weather events and conditions. The program also helps offset transportation costs when traveling.
“It’s by no means a panacea, but sure, with diesel prices the way they are today, it’s going to help a little bit,” Frazier said.
Lopez still considers the conditions very normal for our region. “We’re in South Texas,” he noted. “Drought is nothing out of the ordinary for us. They have learned to survive and deal with it. Hopefully we can move forward with this.”
Frasier hopes that other producers can weather the storm, and that the conditions they’re dealing with now won’t have a ripple effect in the coming months.
“I really think that by the end of the year we’re going to start to see some of that ripple effect that we’re seeing now at harvest time that loaf of bread a few months from now may not be there,” he predicted.
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