Federal Government declares drought disaster in Texas

POSTED: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - 4:03pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:54am

MCLENNAN COUNTY -- The Federal Government has declared a drought disaster in Central Texas, including McLennan County.

That means farmers will be able to get low interest loans to compensate for lost crops. However, most farmers say they won't be taking advantage of the loans.

Farmer Rodney Schmalriede says this drought has taken a toll on his lively hood.

"It's just kind of a little bit depressing. You go out every morning, and what you've worked so hard for the year, there's not much there," says Schmalriede.

Farmers want compensation for the money lost, but when it comes to a low-interest loan from the U.S.D.A., many farmers and ranchers aren't interested.

"When I hear that, I kind of chuckle. It's kind of like they are trying to make it sound like they're really going to do something good for the producers. I haven't looked at the program yet. It may be, but as far as the past, experiences I've had with the U.S.D.A., low interest loans are not a positive experience."

Schmalriede says it's hard to qualify for the loans even if you're crops are destroyed. He worries a lot of farmers won't be able to produce anymore if things get worse.

"The consumers are going to feel it real quick."

The Farm Bureau says the loans could be a beneficial program, but the lag time and interests on the loans are discouraging to farmers and ranchers.

In addition to that,  the soonest they would see any payout would be next year.

Officials are calling this the worst drought in a century, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared drought disasters in 213 of the 254 Texas counties.

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