TAYLOR, Texas (Nexstar)— An extreme drought is impacting farmers across Texas. And it’s ultimately leading to economic loss for the state.
Adam and Anthony Golla have been farming together in Central Texas for almost 20 years.
“We have a long way to go,” Anthony said. “We’re in the early stages of the growing season.”
They said 2011 was the worst drought they’ve experienced, but this year is concerning too. Their sorghum fields aren’t flourishing as much as the duo feels like they should be.
“So, these are plants that didn’t come up early,” Adam said while inspecting crop growth out in their fields.
Sorghum is used for a number of things, like feeding chickens and cattle. According to Ronnie Schnell with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, the acres are down and farmers are now paying more to produce with higher fertilizer prices.
“You might be spending $100 an acre on fertilizer in previous years. That could easily be $150 to $200 an acre this year,” Schnell said.
On top of the extreme drought plaguing the state, Schnell said it’s making producing much harder.
“You know, we hope we’re not heading toward something like 2011, where we saw large crop failures around the state,” he said.
Much of sorghum is exported. Back in 2019, the crop brought in roughly $160 billion to Texas, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife report.
“There’s a lot of downstream industries that also rely on farmers to have good success,” Schnell said.
But, the nature of the business is this:
“It’s a risk,” Adam said.
So, the Golla brothers just go with the flow the best they can.
“Eternal optimism,” Anthony said with a chuckle.
While parts of the state did recently get much-needed rain, it wasn’t enough to improve drought conditions.
The dryness we’re seeing right now historically would lead to farmers planting less. But many of the crops that are planted risk being destroyed by conditions.