Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Things We Lost in the Drought

Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

The Grinch promotes his movie in Universal City, California.

And the hits keep coming. There will be no oysters this year in Texas, USA Today reports: “a monstrous bloom of toxic algae looming across the Texas coast has shut down oyster season.” Because of the drought, the paper reports, “the algae could cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in humans and is harmful to fish but not fatal to people.”

The ongoing Texas drought is responsible for billions of dollars in losses and counting. Here are just some of the things that we’ve lost in the drought:

  1. Burgers. Beef prices are set to rise dramatically after a massive sell-off of cattle in Texas last year because of the drought, we reported recently. There are far fewer calves as a result, and what cattle is left has to be fed with grain that is also more expensive than before. This means higher prices at the market in the future.
  2. Pecans. Two things are hurting domestic pecan production this year: the drought, as you probably guessed, and demand from China. “The average price for a pound of pecans is about $11 this year,” the Associated Press reports. “That’s up from $7 a pound in 2008 and $9 last year.”
  3. Oysters. As noted above, there will be no Texas oysters this year. “The state closed the entire coast of Texas to oyster fishing due to the red tide levels in late October,” the Dallas Observer reports. The algae bloom has been going for 55 days and shows no signs of abating anytime soon.
  4. Peanuts. Prices are almost three times higher this year because of the drought, according to the aptly-named Shelly Nutt, executive director of the Texas Peanut Producers Board told KUT news. Even with extra irrigation, peanut farmers were short 10 to 12 inches of water this year, and the crops suffered.
  5. Christmas. The drought is a real Grinch. Texas-grown Christmas trees have become scarce during the drought. “Some tree farms have had to shut down, while others are open, but struggling,” KXAN Austin reported recently. “And the dry weather doesn’t just impact this year’s crop; farms will be dealing with problems for years to come.” Some Texas tree farmers are actually shipping in pines from other states so they have enough inventory, and one farm lost two-thirds of its trees to the drought.
We’ve also lost some hunting and even the A&M student bonfire. What have you lost in the drought? Comment below or email us, thenry@stateimpact.org


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