East Texas farmers feeling effects of weather extremes

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 5:04 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 7, 2021 at 7:17 PM CDT
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GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - It has been a strange year for farmers and growers in East Texas, with extremes in weather that disrupted normal growing seasons.

While larger growers faced losses in yield, others simply got what they could out of a shortened planting season.

The February snow storm was the first extreme to hit East Texas farmers, one in long string of growing problems.

“Before the freeze it was dry, then we had the freeze. Then we went into another dry spell. Then from that we went into a very wet time of year back into another dry time of year,” says Gregg County Texas A&M Agrilife agent Shaniqua Davis.

The combination forced many to replant, and replant again.

“Then it went into too much rain in our spring. That caused a lot of your plants to rot out,” Davis says.

Master gardener Larry Ferguson grows food in Longview to give to needy individuals.

For him it’s been an adjustment because of the weather.

“We grow vegetables for our elderly. We had plants and trees in our garden. Some of them died,” he says.

For some farmers the weather pattern has cost them about 30 percent of what their projected yield would have been. Turning a profitable year, into a so-so year.

Ferguson says even in extremes, growing can be done, with adjustments.

“We put a lot of minerals in our soil. It’s a shot in the dark. Let’s say if you want enough tomatoes for so many people, you plant twice as many. Let just nature work. And not try to change nature,” says Ferguson.

Davis says the weather cycles, and a good season could be the next one.

“Look at the weather cast, see what they are predicting, what they are expecting,” she says.

Davis says growers should begin working now on fertilizing and preparing their planting areas for next season.

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