Drought is Killing State’s Agriculture
State agriculture officials say the relentless drought is causing a major economic disaster for Texas farmers. It’s the worst drought in the state’s history, and the most costly. Texas agriculture losses could exceed $5.2 billion statewide if the drought doesn’t end soon.
This year’s record-breaking drought exceeds the previous record of $4.1 billion set in 2006, according to the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.
All over Texas, rainfall totals are only a small fraction of what’s considered “normal” and capable of enabling farmers to produce a good crop. For much of the state, the drought began in September of last year. From then through July of this year was the driest 10-month period ever recorded in Texas.
Extension Service economists say crops account for about $3.2 billion in losses and livestock accounts for $2.06 billion. The losses also represent nearly 28 percent of the average value of agricultural production over the last four years.
Even in the face of all that, and as desperate as many are, most farmers aren’t giving up hope and throwing in the towel. Chad Gullex, an agriculture extension agent in Smith County, says many East Texas farmers “are positive and feel like if we can get some rain this fall, they can still come out of this thing and be OK.”