We at OnFarm feel deeply for those affected by the recent devastation witnessed by our friends in Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. We understand the devastation and are closely monitoring the aftermath and the impact on agriculture in the area. We have provided some information on the affects of the hurricane along with resources for those in the areas and how you can help.
One of the most impacted crops was cotton. Although much of the cotton had been harvested, much of the cotton was being stored in the fields using large blocks covered with tarp. These were highly vulnerable to the storm and water damage. Gene Hall, the director of communications for the Texas Farm Bureau added that he did not know how much of the crop was moved out of the field. Anything left in the field on the stalk would essentially be a loss. Texas Senator Ted Cruz recently released a video showing the cotton that was destroyed in the wake of Hurricane Harvey noting that they could not even begin to assess the full magnitude of the damages yet. Other affected areas of agriculture included rice, corn, livestock, and grains. Corn was affected depending on storage areas as well as crops that are shipped through the Texas Gulf which accounts for 24% of all US wheat crop (1). The South Texas Cotton and Grain Association is predicting crop losses up to 150 million dollars (2).Local farmers have said that rice producers were rushing to harvest the rice as quickly as possible prior to evacuation (3). Livestock producers also took many precautions to move cattle to higher ground and to safer pastures with back-up generators (3).
We encourage farmers to reach out to seek out available resources listed here: https://www.usda.gov/topics/disaster/storms. The resources include the federal crop insurance program supporting agriculture through difficult times along with other programs and services specifically for disaster relief.
If you would like to help Texas farmers rebuild, you can make a donation to the STAR fund here: https://www.texasagriculture.gov/Home/ProductionAgriculture/DisasterAssistance/STARFund.aspx. The site notes “100% of the donations collected will be distributed to those who incurred losses related to natural disasters” Commissioner Sid Miller’s statement regarding the STAR fund: “Every day we depend on farmers and ranchers to provide our families with the healthy food and warm clothes that sustains our lives, and now is the time for Texas producers to lean on us. This is not a hand out, rather it’s a helping hand. I hope my fellow farmers and rancher will take advantage of these funds if you need them. (4)”
On behalf of our friends in Texas, we would like to thank all the first responders, citizens who risked their lives to save others, and everyone who has helped in this time of need.