Pray for rain: Ranchers dealing with worst drought since 1990
Apr 14, 2009
Apr 15, 2009
It was another hot and dry day in Laredo as chances for rain have come and gone. Some are beginning to wonder when dry conditions will take their toll on rivers and lakes in the area, but ranchers say the worst is already here. Bright sunny days have cost billions for ranchers who say at this point light drizzle wont do much good. Charlie Russ has witnessed the conditions first hand and says “the watering holes that the deer drink out of they’re all dried up.” Cattle surround the little water left as the Texas sun continues beating down on ranch land with chances of rain nowhere in sight. “It would be a disaster.” Meteorologists say its one of the worst droughts the Laredo area has seen in several years. Meteorologist Richard "Heatwave" Berler meteorologist says “if you consider droughts 6 months or longer this is the worse since 1990.” The lack of rain is having a huge economic impact on ranchers who now have to buy more feed to make up less vegetation. “We have sufficient amounts of water but we're not receiving any rain to grow our brows for deer and cattle and wildlife,” says rancher George Light of Callaghan Ranch. “It’s easy to see even feel how dry conditions have affected the area and agriculture officials say Texas cattle ranches have lost nearly 1 billion dollars to the drought.” “Cattle market fluctuates. a little bit the cost of feed has gone up tremendously” In 2006, drought related crop and livestock losses totaled a 4 point one billion dollars, the worst the state had ever seen. Ranchers say they've seen a whopping four inches of rain in the last eight months on their properties just north of Laredo. A slow moving weather system is on its way, but may only bring a small glimmer of hope. “I’m optimistic that we'll get something but it wont be the widespread rains that central eastern and northern Texas are getting.” Ranchers we spoke to say normally they would see at least 20 inches of rain per year. Lately, they've been working with only 9 or 10 inches.