Texas Forest Service and Texas Comptroller's Office release drought impact report

By: Victoria Maranan Email
By: Victoria Maranan Email

SHERMAN, TX-Last year's drought in Texas was one of the worst on record and even though it's needed in most parts of the state, some areas are still dealing with the effects of the severe water shortage.
Last week, the Texas Forest Service, along with the Texas Comptroller's Office, released a report on the extent of the damage. According to the report, agricultural losses in the state were estimated to be about $5.2 billion because of last year's drought. A local farmer tells us how the drought affected him.
Sherman farmer and rancher Ben Wible said he and several area farmers took a big hit from last year's drought.

"Through the summer, it was getting very very serious when we had our stock tanks were running out of water. One or two farms had absolutely no water, we had to haul water in a few places," he said.

The heat dried up his 3,000 land last summer, making it difficult for Wible to keep up with his 400 heads of cattle.

"The hay was getting to be critical. I was gonna have to sell half of my herd, probably if it didn't rain because I only had enough hay to last the winter for half," he said.

According to a report by the Texas Comptroller's office, last year's drought cost farmers and ranchers in the state $5.2 billion in losses, including a loss of more than $2 billion dollars on livestock and $750 million on hay.

Wible said while the drought may be over for Grayson county, he still has to make adjustments for this year's crops.

"I'm not planting corn this year. That's my plan because corn is a very water intensive crop, so I decided not to plant corn. I'm planting mostly wheat but I'll have some milo and other types of hay," he said.

Texas Forest Service's Pete Smith said the effects of the drought are not confined in the rural areas. It also took a toll on trees that line your streets, parks and also those that shade your home.

"Based on last year's very difficult drought, we've lost 5.6 million urban trees because of the drought," he said.

Smith said with millions of dead trees, it's estimated that the state will have to pay $560 million to have the dead trees removed.

"We do have to deal with the removal of the trees that have died in this drought. But we have to look at replacing the trees that died with trees that are better suited to an environment that is hot and dry."

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