How the drought will affect us now and into the future
Wed, 15 Feb 2012 23:28:19 GMT —
Drought is a term that's been used to describe conditions in Texas for much too long.
Farmers, ranchers, and producers have all seen their struggles this past year, and could potentially see those same struggles this year and for years to come.
The number one problem farmers and producers are going to face this year is the lack of subsoil moisture.
Some experts say there's even less of it this year than last year, and that will make it hard to carry the crop through into this year.
This in turn could cause even more economic damage.
"It cause around $5.2 billion in economic losses for ag production as a whole if not more as they continue forward through the production season, which is pretty substantial in the back of the farmers production line and within their operation," said Texas Wheat Producers Executive Assistant, Kody Bessent.
Farmers tried hard to break even, but were unable to carry some of their financial operations forward.
Some filed insurance claims, but Bessent says because insurance is so expensive, most producers will still be forced to take losses.
"It is very hard to be made whole, a majority of the producers in this area will take out around 55-60 percent coverage at best and so they're still left with about 40 percent loss, which they have to cover out of their own pocket, which is just hard to do."
When you add all of that to the low yields the drought caused, Bessent says we could see the effects in the grocery stores.
"The more production we have typically the greater supply from an economic standpoint, the lower the price, therefore food is typically more affordable, but if we have less and less of a product then typically food is a little bit higher. Due to not only the cost of production, but transportation costs that simply go up with it as well."
Another area in Texas that is going to take a hit is wildlife; the drought has caused low fawn crops as well as poor production for quail and turkeys.
"With the drought you have lessened nesting cover for ground nesting birds, you have lessened fawning cover for deer and prong horns, so you can expect some significant impacts on them just from a cover standpoint," said Texas AgriLIFE Extension Wildlife Specialist, Ken Cearley.
Cearley also says wildlife nutrition is also in jeopardy because forage and protein are scarce.
We're told the drought's extended impact could get worse if rangeland isn't managed properly, and the land is restocked too quickly.