Consumers To Feel Impact Of DroughtAug. 18, 2011
The extreme drought in Central Texas and across the state initially made its presence known to those who deal daily with the land, people like Marc Scott. He's been dealing with the conditions on his farm near Riesel, where he raises cattle and hay. The farmers and ranchers are always the first to feel the effects when the rains don't fall. But as the drought heads from the summer towards the fall, the domino effect of high costs and low output will eventually be felt by consumers. Gene Hall of the Texas Farm Bureau said local businesses are already starting to notice that many people don't have the buying power they once did.
The economic realities of the drought are stark for those in agriculture. Marc Scott says that many farmers are finding it cost-prohibitive to even feed their herd now. So they're faced with a tough choice: bite the bullet now and pay the high cost of feed, or sell the cattle they've worked hard to attain. And if they sell now, they could pay later. It's one of the first steps in an equation that leads to higher prices for consumers.
Scott is one of the lucky ones in that he has been able to avoid selling off his stock. But many haven't been so fortunate, and struggle mightily with the factors that threaten their agricultural livelihood. In the coming weeks, we'll periodically visit with individuals in the area fighting the weather, and look at the personal impact the drought is having. You can see prior stories in this series online at www.kwbu.org/news. For KWBU News, I'm Derek Smith.