Midwest drought jacking up grain, feed prices
The Texas drought has receded over much of the state, but farmers are still hurting, and in some cases hurting badly, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples told 1200 WOAI’s Michael Board that even though rain is falling in Texas, the monster drought which is plaguing the Midwest is causing major problems, largely because we import most of the feed that Texas ranchers feed their cattle.
“Texas is a net importer of corn, on which our beef, dairy, feed lots, swine and poultry production depends,” Staples said. “So they are having to pay much higher prices.”
The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that none of Texas is suffering under ‘exceptional drought,’ the worst classification today, that is compared with an amazing 71% of the state one year ago today.
12% of the state, mainly east of a line from Victoria to Waco, is suffering from no drought whatsoever, and most of the state, including Bexar County, is either in moderate or severe drought, the two lightest categories. The worst Texas drought today is in the Panhandle and the High Plains of West Texas.
But Staples says the grain producing parts of the country, like Kansas and Nebraska, are suffering from the worst type of drought, and that means big trouble for Texas, even when rain is falling.
“High grain prices are causing beef cattle prices to decline,” he said. “Our dairy industry is already suffering from difficult profit margins.”
This comes on the heels of last summer’s devastating Texas drought, which cost farmers and ranchers an estimated $7 billion. Staples says hit particularly hard are ranchers who had to sell off their cattle last year because they couldn’t afford to feed them. They are buying replacement herds this year and super high prices.