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Texas drought losses topped $7 billion in 2011

03/22/2012 @ 8:30am

The state of Texas's agriculture industries lost $7.62 billion in 2011 due to the worst drought on record in that region, according to estimates from economists at Texas A&M University's Agrilife Extension division, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's extension service.

Last year "was the driest year on record and certainly an infamous year of distinction for the state's farmers and ranchers," Dr. David Anderson, livestock economist, said in a statement. The more than $7 billion in losses were roughly double the damages in 2006, the most costly drought on record until last year.

Livestock owners and managers in the Lone Star State suffered the worst losses, at $3.23 billion, the economists said. Cotton farmers lost $2.2 billion. Producers of corn, wheat, hay and sorghum also faced hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.

Drought last year ravaged cotton production in Texas, which produced its smallest crop since 1998.

Nearly 70% of Texas--the largest cattle-producing state in the nation--remains in severe drought or worse, according to federal data. The parched conditions in the southern Plains over the past 18 months have forced ranchers in states such as Texas and Oklahoma to sell hundreds of thousands of beef cattle.

-By Marshall Eckblad, Dow Jones Newswires, 312-750-4070; marshall.eckblad@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 21, 2012 18:28 ET (22:28 GMT)
DJ Texas Drought Losses Were $7.62 Billion In 2011 - USDA Extension->copyright

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