Three Valley counties now under extreme drought

Local News

LINN-SAN MANUEL, Texas — Hidalgo, Cameron, and Willacy counties are now under extreme drought conditions, with Starr county now moderate.

The drought monitoring system is based on guidelines used by the USDA to understand the severity of a drought in a region.

The lack of rain has been particularly difficult for ranchers and farmers.

“So, you rely on mother nature and if mother nature is generous then you can have a good crop, or at least a reasonable one, or at least a marketable one, and if not well then it just withers on the vine.”  says Ruben Saldana District Administrator, Texas AgriLife Extension Services.

While there has been some rain recently in the region, officials say it has been hit or miss.

“There’s been rain showers, but it depends on where you’re at is if you got rain or not.” says Ronnie Zamora, Extension Agent, Cooperative Extension Program.

Baldemar Garcia, owner of Garcia Cattle Company says it’s been a rough year. Garcia says with no green grass for his cows to eat, he has had to sell most of his cattle. Garcia says he is forced to buy bales of hay to feed them.

“Conditions they are horrible, we have not had any rain here and the cost of feed and hay is going up.” says Garcia.

With the extreme drought designation there is now assistance available for some who have been impacted by the drought.

“If you’re registered with the farm agency with the USDA programs, they have programs depending on the severity of the drought, for you to qualify for certain things, and so it’s just a matter of contacting them.”  says Zamora.

Farmers and ranchers like Garcia say they are hopeful of rain soon. Garcia says he will hang in there and sell off more of his cattle if he needs to.

“Hopefully everything will fall into place, you know it’s up to the Good Lord up there.”  says Garcia.

If you would like to speak with someone about assistance, you can contact The Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Weslaco at 956-968-5581.

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