A relief fund has been set up by the Texas Farm Bureau in response to the agricultural losses caused by Hurricane Harvey. It was the first time in over 13 years that a Category 4 storm hit the United States. Sustained winds of 135 miles per hour and heavy rain inflicted massive damage in Texas, causing the flooding of farm communities, small towns, and major cities.
“It’s an historic storm and a disaster for many farmers and ranchers. The torrential rainfall wreaked havoc on Texas agriculture at the worst possible time—harvest season,” Texas Farm Bureau President Russell Boening said. “Hurricane Harvey struck an area of the state known for cattle, cotton, rice and other row crops.”
Texas is a leader in cattle and cotton production in the country. After several years of low prices and high costs, Boening noted that this year’s cotton crop on the Texas Gulf Coast was expected to be substantial. High-speed winds tore apart cotton modules leaving them scattered throughout fields and gin yards.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates approximately $150 million worth of cotton has been destroyed. According to estimates coming from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, losses from Harvey will reduce the expected two million bale harvest by as much as 400,000 bales. The Extension Service also estimates at least 1.2 million beef cows, or roughly 27 percent of the state’s entire cowherd, were grazing in 54 counties that have officially been declared as a disaster by Governor Greg Abbott.
“Texas agriculture suffered major losses,” Boening said. “Some of that will be covered by other means, but much of it will not. Farmers and ranchers are left to pick up the soggy pieces.”
The Texas Farm Bureau’s Agriculture Research and Education Foundation has created the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund to address the overwhelming needs of the recovery efforts taking place after the storm.
There is a lot of work ahead for Texas families trying to reestablish their farming operations after the storm. Tax-deductible donations can be made to the foundation to help farmers and ranchers in their rebuilding efforts. All donations will be dispersed directly to those farmers and ranchers who suffered as a result of the hurricane through an application process.
“Harvey roared into Texas and overstayed his welcome,” Boening noted. “But now we look ahead-to recovery and rebuilding the farms and ranches in that part of our great state.”
You can make a tax-deductible donation through the Texas Farm Bureau website.