More than $600 million in agricultural losses accounted for so far, Texas A&M economist says

Losses costly to beef, poultry industries

Texas poultry and beef farmers count staggering losses after winter storm.

SAN ANTONIO – Losses in the agriculture industry brought on by the winter storm in Texas are now estimated to be $605 million, according to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

Dr. David Anderson, the education agency’s livestock economist, said included in that figure are $228 million in losses to the livestock and poultry industries, as well as the animals who died due to the cold. He said the figures also include the cost of trying to keep them warm.

RELATED: Texas Farm Bureau, others assessing winter storm damage

“That probably ate up a lot more cost than they were expecting in producing the birds this year,” Anderson said.

To create energy to help them keep warm, Anderson said the cattle had to eat.

“More hay was put out, more feed put out, and (there is) more cost because of that,” he said.

However, feed and hay are now more expensive, said Bryan Bettice, who raises cows and calves near Adkins in southeast Bexar County.

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Image courtesy of Bryan Bettice, Adkins, Texas.

Bettice said water was just as crucial yet challenging to get.

Many had pumps that froze up, and damaged pipe systems now need repair to get water to their cattle.

For others, like himself, who had to brave single-digit temperatures and 3 to 5 inches of snow, Bettice said, “You still had to go out there and break the ice and make sure those gals had access to plenty of water.”

The losses will be costly to cattle and poultry producers, Anderson said, but because the state also has out-of-state suppliers, “oftentimes, storms like this cause some short-term market turmoil but really don’t result in higher prices for consumers at the grocery store.”

RELATED: Produce distributor ‘cautiously optimistic’ as farmers across Texas count losses following winter storm

About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.