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Drought causing historic cotton losses

For the first time in over a century, a severe South Texas DROUGHT HAS CLAIMED THE ENTIRE COTTON PRODUCTION of Kleberg County. “Since the founding of Kingsville in 1904, not a single pound of cotton was produced this year in Kleberg County, which includes the King Ranch, one of the area’s largest producers." Other Coastal Bend counties have not fared much better, experts say. “Nueces County planted 124,000 acres of cotton and about 95 percent of that failed. San Patricio County planted about 130,000 acres with a fail rate of more than 90 percent. Grain sorghum did only a little better.” They estimate the economic hit to Kleburg County alone at about $50 million. “That’s not just lost crop revenue in cotton and grain sorghum, that includes money lost to motels that house the harvesting crews, labor costs at gins and grain elevators and other related losses.” Like many areas of South Texas, Kleberg County has not seen significant, widespread rainfall in almost a year. “From January to now, we’ve had about two inches of total rainfall. But in the crop year, from Sept. 1, 2008, to now, we’ve had under 5 inches. Normally in a 12-month period we’ll have 27 to 28 inches of rainfall.” Local historians claim THIS IS THE WORST DROUGHT THEY'VE EVER SEEN. In late July, economists reported that agricultural drought losses throughout the state had reached $3.6 billion and by the end of the year could exceed $4.1 billion.

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