Drought reaches record high in losses

Our record-setting drought rears its ugly head again, not just statewide, but in the Panhandle, too.

It has cost the state $5.2 billion in losses and could go even higher.

With the Panhandle so dependent on agriculture, the loss has to be significant here.

The current drought is the worst since 2006, and according to Stephen Amosson of the Texas Agri-Life Extension, it could take a couple of years to climb out of this dried up hole.

With state losses exceeding $5 billion, Amosson says the Panhandle can't be too far behind that number.

"In the losses in this area which included this area through Lubbock, they're probably running in the $2 billion range at this moment."

Meaning our crops and livestock have taken a major hit.

"We've lost all of our dry land cotton, we've lost all of dry land sorghum. We got killed on the wheat, everybody has had to sell their cattle or been selling their cattle or having to feed their cattle."

That not only affects the crops, but also the people who harvest those crops, or what's left of them.

"Because you have cotton being harvested, you have people working in the cotton gins that aren't basically going to be working. So there's a loss to the regional economy and when I estimate that its going to be somewhere between 3-4 billion as we sit right now."

Amosson says cotton has most definitely been hit the hardest this year, and that higher hay prices have made it tough to keep cattle, but is there an end in sight?

"When you do not have any subsoil moisture and we don't, it's going to take more than a year of even average rainfall to get out of this drought so technically we're going to be in a drought from a agriculture standpoint for maybe the next couple of years."

Amosson also said, in the end, he thinks the losses from the drought will be much more than $5.2 billion.