Drought having big impact on crops and farmers in Waller County

Erica Simon Image
Friday, July 8, 2022
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"96% of Texas is in a type of a drought," said a professor from the Prairie View A&M University's School of Agriculture and Human Sciences.

PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas (KTRK) -- Texas' extreme drought conditions are something we've been talking about for weeks. It's bad, and it's starting to impact almost every aspect of our daily life from the grocery store to agriculture.

On Thursday, ABC13's Erica Simon went to Waller County to see how the weather is impacting local farmers.

"(I've) been doing this ever since I was a little boy except for the 13 years I was in the Marine Corps," Robert Poole said.

"And how young are you?" Simon asked

"I'm 22," Poole responded with a hearty laugh.

It's good to see Poole keep his sense of humor in the midst of dire times. Of all the years he's been farming, he thinks this is the worst harvest yet.

"We were shooting for 200 bushels an acre, but I doubt we'll get 5.5 bushels of corn an acre. When you go out there and dig down, when you get down to one feet, two feet down, you know you need some water," Poole said.

Of the 80 plus acres of corn Poole and Reverend Fletcher Williams tend to off 290 and James Muse Parkway, they estimate 98 to 99% is a loss this year. They also grow watermelon, but thankfully, a lot of that crop is able to be saved. As for their cattle -- due to dead grass and a reduction in hay supply, they've had to start buying them feed. Add that and an increased cost in fuel, and we're talking a big financial hit.

But they're not alone. Farmers, ranchers and growers all across the Lone Star State are fighting to stay afloat.

"For farmers, it means lives and deaths. It means being bankrupt, or being in a good condition and making it. 96% of Texas is in a type of a drought," said Dr. Ali Fares, professor in Prairie View A&M University's School of Agriculture and Human Sciences.

Fares showed us mind-blowing data. The comparison from this time last year to now when it comes to moisture, is stark.

"The last few months of the year, we were above average. Then for the last six weeks, we didn't receive a substantial amount of rain. That's all it takes," Dr. Fares continued.

Poole and Williams know that, but like most in their field, they find a way to keep going, no matter what.

"This year, I don't know. But there's some things you can't control. You just have to live with it, and that's what we're doing here," Williams said.

Yes, some farmers do have irrigation systems, but those can be really expensive. Thankfully, Poole and Williams have crop insurance and will apply to any disaster funding available if it opens up. As if prices aren't high enough, the longer the drought goes, the more we all could be paying at the store.

Like the farmers, we better start praying for rain.

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