Area farmers speak out on drought outlook

By: Victoria Maranan Email
By: Victoria Maranan Email

GRAYSON CO, TX-Last summer's drought caused billions of dollars in agricultural losses in Texas and Oklahoma affecting farmers and ranchers all across our area.
According to the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, last year's drought led to $7.6 billion in agricultural losses, which is the highest on record. I spoke with a farmer who says without rain, his crops could be in trouble once again.
Farmer and rancher, Ben Wible, said he can still feel the effects of last year's drought.

"We're still suffering from some of that drought, a lot of our trees are having a problem with there is little sub soil moisture. It's just never totally recharged," he said.

So does corn farmer, Bruce Wetzel.

"Last year was really hot and dry. Our corn crop in the past two to three years, it's been really hot and dry and the corn crop hasn't been good," he said.

But Wetzel said this year his crop seems promising because of the mild winter and some rain. He even expects to start harvesting corn a few weeks earlier.

"We just had a better growing season, a little bit lower temperatures and a little better rainfall in a critical time that the corn needed it," he said.

But Wible said there's no way to tell whether or not this year will be as bad for him.

"There's probably no comparison so far because last year was just a total disaster on a lot of stuff, especially on the corn crops, your pasture, your hay and a lot of people had to sell most or all of their cattle," he said.

He owns over 200 head of cattle and he's concerned that with the heat drying up his pastures, he'll have to bring out the hay for his cattle a month early.

"Our pastures where we have our cattle on them. They're starting to look like what they should look like in late August and we're in early July. So that's a concern now if we don't get any rain soon," he said.

Wible said if this year should be as bad as last year's drought, he's prepared.

"I baled 650 rolls of wheat and oat hay before summer actually got to us so I got plenty of hay going into the summer and I got milo stalks I will bale," he said.

But Wetzel said it all depends on the weather.

"We're just praying for rain, it's all we can do at this point," he said.

"Us farmers always want to see it rain in July," Wible said.

Wible said wildfires also concern area farmers in the summer because of the hot, dry weather.

AG-extension agents said if any farmers or ranchers who don't have cattle to graze on tall grass should mow pastures regularly.

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  • by Steak'em Location: Texas on Jul 8, 2012 at 03:24 PM
    I have asked about 5 different people I know that own cattle "how do you make money with cattle?" I've got 5 different answers but they all say they don't make any money so the question is why do they raise cattle? Either they are lying or they are stupid and I don't think they are stupid so what's up? Some drive new pick-ups, High dollar cab tractors with AC & stereo, ect. People don't do jobs for little to no profit (or at least not for long.) How much help do they get from the government? Do they get tax breaks on everything or Do they pay tax at all? There must be more than they are willing to tell.
    • reply
      by Billy Bob Thornton@Windom on Jul 10, 2012 at 12:59 PM in reply to Steak'em
      The next time you go to Wal-Mart just Whistle past the produce isle.Do you know where Steak comes from?
  • by Anonymous on Jul 6, 2012 at 09:04 AM
    Farming is a lot like the the stock market. From what I've seen of local fields, corn in particular, a lot of farmers around here are going to do great with the increase in prices arising out of the drought up north. Cattle are doing well, too. Try buying a steak. Rain was spotty, but fairly widespread. Some years boom, others are bust, but they average out. It looks like a good chance of rain next week and much cooler temps to make that corn swell a little more.
  • by Mike H. on Jul 6, 2012 at 05:55 AM
    ''Whistling past the graveyard..."
  • by Okie Location: Tesas on Jul 6, 2012 at 03:26 AM
    To all concerned you can look at this website and see how much money these farmers get in government money on there farms. You can look at any state and/or county in the U.S. A lot of farmers are paid to land owners farm so the land owner can still claim agriculture exemptions to eliminate paying high property tax like the working people without agriculture exemptions. r
    • reply
      by farmer on Jul 6, 2012 at 02:38 PM in reply to Okie
      I like that ( Okie,location Texas,) You working people need a little farm so you can work 5 to 9, 7-days a week to make a living, not 9 to 5, 5-days a week. Ag exemptions have nothing to do with property tax. The only way farmers can get government help is if your crop fails then they give a little,if you have paid your crop insurance.Yes beef is high at the store,but the farmer is not selling to the store. We take the cattle to the sale barn and come home with what they give us, we can't tell the sale barn what we need for them so we (the farmer) can pay the feed bill, fertilizer bill,hay bill, vet. bill,land lease, tractor payment, diesel bill,chemical bill,t-post and wire to keep fences, and so on.
      • reply
        by Mickey on Jul 9, 2012 at 10:32 AM in reply to farmer
        I'm not trying to give you are hard time, but ag exemptions are all about property tax. Land under ag exemption is assessed at a lower value, and therefore taxes paid on an acre of ag land is lower than the tax paid on land that doesn't qualify for the exemption.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jul 7, 2012 at 10:02 AM in reply to Okie
      Okie, it's their farms, not there farms.
    • reply
      by Billy Bob Thornton@Windom on Jul 7, 2012 at 12:30 PM in reply to Okie
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