Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Drought Relief for Texas Farmers and Ranchers

I was able to go to East Texas this weekend and spend a little time at the farm with my father – I can’t think of a better way to spend the weekend. Newborn calves were bouncing around the pasture, and the cows were enjoying the little bit of clover, vetch and other winter grasses that have sprouted. The green stuff was a welcomed sight, as the hay supplies are getting pretty thin. It appears we have had a little rain, but much more is needed.

Unfortunately, many ranchers have been transporting hay for some time because of the drought and short supplies. I recently wrote a letter to Governor Perry asking for a waiver on height and load restrictions for transporting hay, and in response, he issued an order to the Texas Department of Transportation that waives those transportation restrictions for a defined period.

Producers needing more information about drought relief can find resources through the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Disaster Resource Information Packet, which includes contact information for assistance with loans, water/irrigation, insurance and other things. TDA’s Hay Hotline is also a great resource for ranchers in need of hay and forage.

Hopefully spring will bring the rain we need to nourish our crops and livestock. If not, it is important to remember that Texas farmers and ranchers are recognized far and wide for their grit and generosity.

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