Texas Farms and Ranches Done In by Mean Drought
With livestock unfed and livelihoods on the line, owners pray for rain. ‘It’s nothing but dried weeds out there,’ a feed-store manager says.
By Lianne Hart,
Los Angles Times Staff Writer
CANTON, Texas — The effects of a long, stubborn drought are everywhere here: in the parched, wasted fields and the bony cows nosing the dirt for nonexistent grass; in the cracks splitting stone-hard earth and the worried faces of farmers running out of savings, and options.
“It’s sad when you see what’s going on all around you,” said Windy Watkins, a feed-store manager. “This has been the lives of so many for so long, and now it’s gone. It’s heartbreaking.”
Canton, a rural cattle- and sweet-potato-producing area 60 miles east of Dallas, is hardly alone in its misery. From Florida to Arizona and north through the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin, drought has wiped out summer crops and forced ranchers to sell cattle they can no longer afford to feed.