East Texas farmers, ranchers counting the cost of last week’s winter storms

Those losses are even being reported as far south as Jasper County.

East Texas farmers, ranchers counting the cost of last week’s winter storms
Cows (Source: KTRE)

JASPER COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - Farmers and ranchers continue to add up the losses they suffered due to last week’s winter storm. Those losses are even being reported as far south as Jasper County.

“There’s no drainage anymore,” Teri Caldwell said. “It’s just an ongoing battle with the rain, the flooding, and now the ice that we got.”

Caldwell lives in southern Jasper County, where she said they haven’t dried out since Hurricane Harvey, and last week’s weather didn’t help.

“You can see the mud,” Caldwell said. “It’s so deep you can’t step off in it. I have four-wheel drive tractors, and they are right there at the limit.”

She said she used her entire supply of hay to feed and keep her livestock warm during the winter storm.

“It’s hard feeding these cows because they’re getting stuck,” Caldwell said. “I had one get stuck the other day. A little bull calf. We lost him. He died. It’s just a bad situation out here.”

Caldwell said she also lost a chicken.

Jasper County Extension Agent Brock Fry said over the past few days, they have received dozens of reports of damage and ag losses.

“Some of the reports we got in were a lot of pipe damage from freezing pipes in barns and pipes that they rely upon to get their livestock water,” he said. “Some of our citrus crops have been hit hard because of the freeze. Some of our plantation and crop trees have been frozen.”

Another concern for Caldwell: costs.

“I’m spending $600 a week just on feed because I don’t have the hay to put out,” she said. “It’s about to be birthing season, I’ve got most of these cows out here are pregnant and about to start having calves. They start having them in this mud, I’m probably going to lose a few.”

Caldwell said the next steps are difficult.

“Just keep spending money on it,” she said. “That’s all you can do. Whether you can afford it or not you have to take care of them. You have to do what you have do. Pray for better weather, and it would be nice if the county did some drainage.”

Fry said to report needs to local officials. He advises contacting your local USDA office if you need to find out where hay and feed may be available.

To find a USDA office near you, click here.

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