Associated Press - September 8, 2008 6:15 PM ET
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - Texas agriculture officials today estimated this year's crop and livestock losses at $1.4 billion.
The Texas AgriLife Extension Service says spring and summer brought little rainfall and scorching temperatures.
The agency estimated crop losses at $1.1 billion, while livestock losses tallied $260 million. The loss total includes lost hay production, added supplemental feed costs and other production expenditures.
Extension economist Carl Anderson says "the hardest hit area by the drought was along Interstate 35, and east across the state."
It's the third straight year weather has devastated Texas agriculture. Last year, record rainfall flooded crops in South Texas and led to losses of $200 million. The year before, in 2006, drought across the state brought the state's worst-ever single-year losses with $4.1 billion.
Texas is the second-largest agricultural producing state behind California.
Cotton was the leading commodity most severely hit by drought, followed by hay, cattle, corn, grain sorghum and wheat. And about 52% of the state's beef cows were in drought-affected areas.