Ranchers Petition Gov. Perry For Hay Bale-Out After Historic Drought Stunts Texas Crop

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Texas ranchers, bowed under the driest year in state history, are looking to Gov. Rick Perry for help. In an online petition, they're asking him to use the Texas National Guard and any state resources at his disposal to bring hay into the starving ranch country. Drought has withered much of the forage, forcing ranchers to feed cubes and hay to supplement the diet of their cattle. But as the forage goes, so does the hay. Texas's hay crop has been decimated.

They've looked north, to states like Missouri with bumper crops to spare. Problem is, it's expensive. Hay has edged near $100 a bale. Double that figure to account for the trucking costs and it becomes unaffordable. Some Christian organizations have organized "hay lifts," donating bales from farmers in Iowa, for example, to churches in Texas used as distribution points. But in a state with a multi-billion dollar beef industry as vast as Texas's, it isn't enough. The result: Texas herds are being liquidated, as we found in a recent cover story. Agricultural losses must have already blown past the $5.2 billion figure Texas A&M calculated back in August.

Because NOAA predicts the drought will linger into the winter and spring at the very least, Ranch Hand Rescue, a nonprofit farm animal rescue organization, has posted the petition on Change.org beseeching Perry for help. So far, nearly 1,800 have signed on.

The drought has created a hay crisis of monumental proportion. Hay has reached record costs and finding new resources is extremely difficult and expensive. Hay has tripled in price since July 2011.

People have great concerns about losing their animals and their ranches due to the extreme circumstances. Many farmers -- facing no hay and no money -- are abandoning their animals, many of which are starving to death. Dry pastures and lack of hay leave these individuals feeling they have no other choices.

For those of us in farm animal rescue, these costs are crippling us. We have grave concerns about keeping our current rescued animals maintained, and some rescue groups may not be able to survive the current hardships. In addition, the lack of hay and rising costs impede the rescue efforts of all groups. Animal rescue demands are rising because of animal owners not being able to support their current herds.

Aside from praying for rain, the governor's been pretty quiet on the suffering in Texas ranch country. Unfair Park put in a call to his office to see if he'd heard about the petition and whether he'd consider it. We heard back from Perry spokesman Josh Havens, who sent this statement via email:
Unfortunately, Texas is in the midst of a serious drought, and the lack of significant rainfall has fueled a devastating wildfire season. Since his initial disaster declaration in December of last year, Gov. Perry has activated all available state resources to respond, including Texas National Guard ground and aviation assets.

As drought conditions persist, the state emergency management team will continue to work with its local and federal partners to ensure the health and safety needs of Texans are addressed as quickly and efficiently as possible. For example, the Texas Department of Agriculture has established a Hay Hotline to help Texas producers who are in need of hay locate those who have it available for sale or donation. The Hay Hotline also connects ranchers with available grazing lands and transportation services to deliver hay. Currently, 42 states with 1,000 hay listings are represented on the hotline.

A Hay Hotline helps, sure, but the problem isn't finding the hay, it's getting it here. Some ranchers have been draining their bank accounts on feed since last winter. They'd love to buy hay from those 42 states, but they're asking the governor for help transporting it.

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A Native Texas
A Native Texas

Out of curiosity has anyone set up a transportation fund to assist in transporting the hay from other locations?

Amy S.
Amy S.

Like I said, I'm for helping the little guy, not the agricorps. 1) They cannot be a dividend paying corporation, 2) They have to qualify for financial aid just like any student. And they're just asking for.......hay, I don't think they'll be eating it themselves. If you limit the amount of the hay they can receive, then it will ensure it only goes to the smallest farmers. I think the big agricorps already have their resources, but I really feel it's important to support the little farmer. Maybe they'll convert to Democrat if they are supported, after all at one time wasn't most of Texas Democrat heavy? I like and respect your comments, and I know we are closer than we are apart on certain views. I miss Ann Richards, Molly Ivins - and Carol Keeton McClellan Rylander Strayhorn, one of the most fiscally straight shooters in government in the last 20 years. As a public school parent (disd), I agree that they have fucked over our students and teachers in this latest legislature. But since they don't convene again until 2013 (are you kidding me?) we have to organize and make sure from the get-go what we feel is the most important changes. Occupy Austin in 2013! Oh, and GO RANGERS!

Amy S.
Amy S.

scott in dallas:  Political unrest will help drive prices higher. While Libya is liberated (and other Middle East countries), it's not exactly a MORE stable producer of oil because of it (which is why the status quo was supported for so long, now we suffer a ricochet effect). Instability in the middle east will more than likely lead to some sort of instability in oil, production and distribution (after all, they are not required to sell their oil to the USA, they might like China or India a little more). But here's an exerpt of the book by Mr. Rifkin, because I am certainly no geo-person: "M. King Hubbert was a geophysicist who worked for the Shell Oil Company back in 1956. Hubber published what has subsequently become a famous paper forecasting the peak of oil production in the lower 48 states sometime between 1965 and 1970. His projection was ridiculed by colleagues at the time who noted that America was the leading producer of oil in the world. The very idea that we might lose our preeminence was unthinkable and dismissed. His prediction, however, turned out to be correct, US oil production peaked in 1970 and begain its long decline." (Source: 7/29/10, U. S. Field Production of Crude Oil, US Energy Information Administration). "The International Energy Agency (IEA), a Paris-based organization that governments rely on for their energy information and forecasts, may have put the issue of global peak oil production to rest in its 2010 World Energy Outlook report. According to the IEA, global peak production of crude oil probably occured in 2006 at seventy million barrels perday. The admission stunned the international oil vommunity and sent shudders down the spine of global businesses whose life line is crude oil." (Source: IEA, 2010 World Energy Outlook 2010: Executive Summary)

"But here we're primarily concerned with global peak oil per capita, which occurred way back in 1979 at the height of the Second Industrial Revolution. BP conducted a study, which has since been confirmed by other studies, concluding that the available oil, if equally distributed, peaked in that year. [Source BP Amoco Statistical Review of World Energy 2000] While we've found more oil since then, the world population has grown much more quickly. If we were to equally distribute all of the known oil reserves today to the 6.8 billion human beings living on Earth, there would be less available per person." scott in dallas, I respect your intelligence, however if we don't keep looking at least 20-30 years out, other economies will kick our butts. We will be France, China will be us (economically) because we will not have weaned ourselves from a very expensive commodity, whereas their "running at 6 cylindar economy" will be able to better afford it. 

I encourage you to find the podcast of the interview with Diane Rehm. It's fascinating, and real - Europe has already committed to and  has a plan in place to have the infrastructure up for 20% alternative energy use within 20 years.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

To use convoluted Rick Perry-esque logic, isn't a devastating drought God's will? Suck it up and pray!

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

People really are hateful!  It sad to see anyone laughing at the farmers, or anyone losing jobs for that matter.  We are all humans and want the same things in life why must it turn so hateful becasue of stupid politicians.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

I pity them more than I laugh at them.I am just trying to reinforce their belief systems in their hour of need .

Repeat after me .....

"Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem." -

  --  Ronald Reagan

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

The strategy of the elite is simple: divide and conquer.  While you're busy hating underpaid teachers or whoever, you're not keeping your eye on the real income, wealth, and tax disparities that have materialized over the past generation.

Casual Observer
Casual Observer

Prick Perry has more important things to do than take care of business in Texas. It's not like we are still paying him to be an absentee governor.  The only ranchers that will get hay will be the ones who go find it themselves or they contributed to Prick Perry's campagin.   

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Sorry but these folks have played the Rugged Individualist card so many times they have started to believe it .Now Prove it .They have boots straps then start pulling them up.Give us a chance to see all the private sector folks churches and charity's we seem to hear about being out there to Materialize and help with the slack .

After the cattle are gone And as they watch the the Bank's come and foreclose on the family ranch they can rest easy in knowing their guy in Austin more than likely signed one of these .

http://www.atr.org/userfiles/S...

Have fun with the new job at the Dollar General.

Paul
Paul

Yes and next time a natural disaster, such as a tornado, hurricane, wrath of God thunderstorm, hits you, may we assume that you will not be asking for help?

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Say what ?Where did you get that idea ?I hope the Government is out there to help if any of those things happen.

Becuse I know that " all the private sector folks churches and charity's we seem to hear about being out there to Materialize and help with the slack ." only exist in Grover Norquists dream world .

Paul
Paul

Personally, I am all for smaller government.

That being said, having our government act as essentially the insurer (that is the risk assumption) of last resort for certain perils such as drought appears to be appropriate.  As with all covered perils such as this, there are and should be certain restrictions as to who is covered.

If we say that farmer's and ranchers are not to be covered against drought, which is a very infrequent though highly costly loss, then why should the government cover any peril as the insurer of last resort.

For example, Texas provides the wind damage fund (which covers wind losses primarily from hurricanes), the federal government provides the flodd insurance program,  the state and federal govenrments often step in with aid after tornadoes and other highly localzed storms.

As I said earlier, what is at risk with the current drought is a significant portion of the State's economy.

Montemalone
Montemalone

You're wasting your electrons.The wingers are always hypocrites when it comes to government largesse.None for thee, all for me.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

"Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem." -

  --  Ronald Reagan

They seem to support this notion in the way they vote let them live with the consequences .

BTW I am not saying they don't need help or that they don't deserve help I am just saying find it somewhere else. And Not expect a hand out  from the State of Texas.

Paul
Paul

Well you seem to be saying that the ranchers and farmers who have been hit by the drought are on their own, because of:

"Sorry but these folks have played the Rugged Individualist card so many times they have started to believe it .Now Prove it .They have boots straps then start pulling them up."

The current drought is currently being compared not only to the Texas drought of the mid 50's; but also; to the drought of the Dust Bowl of the 30's.

Right now cattle in Texas is being sold off in record numbers.  Many ranchers are selling their breeding stock because of lack of feed and water.  The problem will be in the future when there are no cattle to be bred or raised.  It may very well take many years to grow back the Texas beef herd when the rains come back and there are pastures to graze.

This drought is not only hitting the ranchers but the farmers as well.

Agriculture is still a large part of the Texas economy.  A significant downturn in the ag sector in Texas may push the whole Texas economy into a recession.

"The Rugged Individualist" is a persona cooked up by the media.  Most ranchers and farmers that I know are some of the sharpest businessmen in the state.  How many people do you know regularly set three way collars on their product?

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

How many times do we have to tell these conservatives?Government IS NOT the answer and we must dedicate ALL of our National Guardsmen to patrol the Rio Grande!

Bob
Bob

Will NO ONE defend that Texas Patriot, Rick Perry?

No?

Well, as a Texas Patriot once put it: ADIOS, MOFO!

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

I feel for them, but not so much anymore. Their demographic is all in Perry's pocket, so now, deal with it. When we teachers asked for help, we got the door shut in our face. When Texas CUT funding for children's health care, that also impacted schools, but again, not one word of support from the middle-aged, small business owners.

In fact, they are all about ending welfare. Well, Farmer Joe, money from the government is a handout. You want to be capitalists with low taxes and little regulation, then by God, here is the other side of that coin.

Next time, think a little past the hype of lower taxes" and "no gay marriage" before pulling the voting lever, okay?

Amy S.
Amy S.

So there are no Democratic ranchers?

I'm all for bailing out the food producers of our state, as long as they don't pay dividends to investors and have to show financial need like someone applying for a student loan. If we don't help them, then NONE OF US (as individuals) should ever ask for help, be it for college, mortgages or affordable food. If we allow our producers to dangle, then we have fewer and fewer. Maybe if we'd subsidized vegetable and fruit growers in the '60's and '70's we'd have more diversification in our agricultural base like we did back in the '40's and '50's.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

I understand your pointon diversity, but subsidies for agribusiness has been usurped byt he biggest of them all.

And yes, there are a few Dem ranchers, but not enough to be seen or heard from. When the best the Dems can muster up is Bill White, no harm intended, good guy..... but if we don't have a powerhouse puncher to go up against Gov Goodhair, when you have nobody, and I mean NOBODY who went after Perry--except teachers, again, you get what you get.  I guess I am little punch drunk, since I have spent 12 years lobbying, protesting, tackling one education issue after another, only to hear peopel voting on social issues, not the ones that impact ALL of us. Again, when enough people have been hurt by the GOP, they will awaken. But to be honest, the Texas Democratic party is a eunuch. Lord, I miss Ann Richards and Molly Ivins!!!

scottindallas
scottindallas

The small business owners don't have a voice either.  Unless Valero, Exxon, Conoco et al are small businesses. 

JonathanG
JonathanG

Thanks for the information, I'm going to pass it on to my family in Van Zandt county. They have been having to feed hay most of the summer, and the prices are ridiculous.

cactusflinthead
cactusflinthead

Well, sure sounds like a government handout to me. Next time I hear one of those old codgers tell me they live without support from anybody this little reminder will come in mighty handy. Oh and btw boys you ain't getting any help from Goodhair.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Perry doesnt care about this state or its ranching history, I have a feeling he'll be dropped kicked out of office over this and his other screw ups over the past few years..

John_McKee
John_McKee

I think you are being way too optimistic, we have known he is a moron forever yet every time the republicans go into the voting booth and re-elect him with full knowledge that he is awful so the democrat won't win.

Fletch
Fletch

One can only hope.  If he gets elected to another term, I think I'm moving the hell out of this state.

John_McKee
John_McKee

I wonder how many of these ranchers have voted Republican. I mean statistically speaking it must be most of them and now they are getting exactly what they asked for from the government, nothing.

jesdynf
jesdynf

If there's anything funnier than Texas small business owners begging for a government handout because of climate change, I don't know what it is.

I'd write them a check with a smile on my face if only I thought they'd /learn something/ from it.

Rancher
Rancher

Yeah it will be really funny to see you stuff your face with a $12 Big Mac. Write your check to the Obama campaign instead. Solyndra and other alternate energy scam hucksters are due for another round of government loans.

Fletch
Fletch

$12 Big Mac?  Spare us the hyperbole.  The ranching woes in this state have not, to date, had an appreciable effect on the price of beef and that will likely remain the case.  Besides, I didn't think that McDonald's used real beef anyway.  Beef-like product is more like it.

Fletch
Fletch

I certainly do not dispute your thoughts on the peak of oil.  I'm sure the worst is yet to come and if that includes $12 sandwiches from the golden arches, we are in a whole heap of trouble.

scottindallas
scottindallas

that figure came from what she said would happen with gas and oil prices rising to $200/barrel.

 I don't agree that we've peaked on oil, but the peak will come.  We do need to develop solar, improve efficiency, and continue to lower our own gasoline demand.  Global demand is about 5 million barrels/day lower than it was at the peak of demand in 2005.

Amy S.
Amy S.

I've driven north and south on 281 twice in the last three months. Devastating. I hope the ranchers get some help with hay because they really do need it. REALLY need it.

However the decimation of the Texas cattle industry will have little effect on the price of beef, because the other states are having boom years, with plenty of rain and extra cattle that they've bought from Texas farmers who can't afford to raise them.

On the other hand, if we don't figure out a way to replace oil and gas with other energy sources, $150-$200/barrel oil will result in a $12 Big Mac, and $4-$5/gallon gas, higher electric costs. For everyone. And if it goes higher than that, then we'll all be on our own for growing our food because as prices of shipped food goes up, demand will go down, and supplies will shrink. Me, that's about the time I buy a gun.

The problem with old energy isn't that we can't find more, it's that we can't find enough to keep up with the growth of the world's population, and the ratio between the two is increasing every year. Even if we open up all the US drilling sites that are protected now, our usage will only increase as the prices stays stable or go down. We can either sit by and watch it get worse, or find a way that works to replace up to 20% of our energy needs with new sources (geothermal, solar, wind, kinetic/water).

Solyndra couldn't be saved because China is beating them in prices. They are driving many of the solar panel makers in the USA out of business as well because their economy is strong enough (no war to pay for, no financial bailouts) to heavily subsidize the industry. America's market is low on their priority, more of a surplus market. They are supplying Europe with their solar panels, because the EU has made a commitment to converting to 20% alternative energy sources, and buy much more product than we do.

How would a Rancher feel if we allowed cheap Chinese beef to infiltrate the market when prices are too high? I think they'd ask for some government love money (cough, cough).

Diane Rehm interviewed Jeremy Rifkin, author of The Third Industrial Revolution a few weeks ago. It's an hour worth listening to and a great book on what we can do to make us less dependent (not independent, just less dependent) on the energy sources that have peaked. Peaked. Not one geological expert will disagree that we have peaked on the amount of oil per person that the world holds, even below the ground.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Thanks to folks like Grover Norquist The money isn't there to help you !

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