SAN ANGELO, TX — We all may notice the side effects of the drought but it doesn't just impact those in the farming and ranching industries. If you eat and wear clothes it affects you too.
"About 75 percent of the state is in some level of drought,” Corey Owens said.
A strong drought is nothing new to West Texas producers. Agriculture professor, and rancher, Corey Owens says we usually see it every 7 to 10 years in our area.
"Not only will it impact the producer, but it'll impact the consumer down the line as well. Those effects won't be felt for 6 to 7 months from now. We may see a reduction in the cost at the store depending on if these large inventories of meat continue,” Owens said.
But after the feast can sometimes come famine. Herd expansion has been growing since 2014 but Owens says it's beginning to slow. Much like after the severe drought in 2011. During the years to follow, herd numbers were the lowest they've been in 5 decades. Meaning, customers may get a good deal now...but with many ranchers currently having to sell all of their livestock, there could be a shortage later.
"When you've got less rainfall, you've got less grass, cattle have to have something to eat so you have to start feeding them from a sack. That just increases the cost,” Owens said.
It's basic business:
"Right now, corn prices are good, not from a corn producer's standpoint but from a livestock feed standpoint, corn prices are still fairly low,” Owens said.
You have to compare the costs and the profit.
"That goes back into the affecting your bottom line and the time of year. When ranchers only get paid once a year that can have a dramatic impact on what you're able to do,” Owens said.
Even if we get some heavy rain, that doesn't necessarily mean we're out of the drought. Forecasters say that because the ground is so dry, most of that water will run off to other water sources. Instead, we need consistent rainfall.