Photo: crowt59 via flickr
More than 200 Texan counties have been designated drought disasters by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and all remaining counties now qualify for federal aid.KCBD in Lubbock reports that 213 counties have lost at least 30 per cent of their pasture or crops to wildfires and drought.
The natural disaster designation allows farmers and ranchers to qualify for low-rate emergency loans.
South Plains farmer Scott Harmon told KCBD, “This is a disaster. This is a train wreck. We’ve never seen anything like this before. People are scared, they don’t know what to do and what’s going to happen to them next.”
Harmon’s family have been farming their small piece of Texas since the 1920’s.
Texas Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples told 103.5 things are bad and they will probably get worse:
“We are currently ranked as the third-worst drought on record in Texas. But each passing day moves us closer to the number one year. It is a true calamity. The impact is heartbreaking,” says Staples. “We’ve had over two million acres of dry land cotton being declared 100% abandoned. We have livestock producers that are liquidating their herds, something they’ve spent their entire lifetime building up. It’s just a dreadful set of circumstances.”
Agricultural losses may exceed the 2006 record of $4.1 billion. More than 70 per cent of the state is in a full blown drought and three million acres have been burned by wildfires.
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