Rains Welcome But Drought Impact Lingers
"The rains may have finally begun to fall across much of the Lone Star State, but a few rainclouds does not mean Texans will soon recover from the horrible drought conditions many have faced for more than a year," Lee County Farm Bureau President Mike Organ said.
"Since before January 1, much of South and Central Texas was plagued by what many were calling the worst drought of the century," Organ said.
"Studies done by Texas A&M economists were pegging damages well beyond the $4 billion mark this year. For farmers and ranchers already faced with tough economic times, this drought couldn't have come at a worse time."
Many of the crops planted this year in Lee County never broke ground or their harvests were greatly reduced. Pastures have withered away under the intense summer heat and extended dry times. And ranchers have reduced herds to record lows throughout the region.
"This is not something that simply goes away with a rain or two," Organ said. "We'll probably feel the effects of the drought of 2009 for many years to come."
Directors at USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) recently began accepting loss claims brought on by the disastrous drought conditions in September, after months of awaiting final program rules from implementation of the 2008 Farm Bill. Producers are urged to visit their local FSA service center for more program details.
To learn more about the record drought, visit Texas Farm Bureau's "Drought '09" Web page by logging onto the organization's homepage at www.txfb.org.