We know Texas is famous for many crops, but pumpkin harvests aren’t generally the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Lone Star State. While Illinois accounts for around 90% of the nation’s pumpkin crop, Texas does produce its fair share of soon-to-be jack-o’-lanterns. Floyd County in the Texas Panhandle, or Floydada to be precise, is the epicenter of the state’s pumpkin harvest. Mark Carroll, an AgriLife Extension agriculture agent in Floyd County, says this year’s harvest was fairly typical.
“We had an average crop for the year,” explained Carroll.
What is average? Carroll says the area produces anywhere from 30,000 to 32,000 pounds of pumpkin per acre. The yield comes despite a record-setting freeze in February and a wet summer. The wet days during the summer prevented farmers from getting in the fields and required additional defense from fungi. So, then why would there be an increase in cost? The answer probably won’t surprise you.
“It has to do with our economy and a lot of our other industries. Our inputs have increased,” explained Carroll. “The cost of fuel has gone up. We’re having a hard time getting labor to harvest the pumpkins. One of my producers--he was short 50 people this year harvesting pumpkins.”
As with many things this year, pumpkins are in high demand right now. People are spending more than ever on decorations for fall and Halloween, with a return to more normal practices in the wake of COVID-19.