The Truth About the Drought
Here in Texas in the summer, we spend the majority of our days going from air-conditioned home to air-conditioned car to air-conditioned office or school and back again. Do many of us realize that we are currently in the most severe drought in Texas history? We are actually in a state of what’s classified as “exceptional drought,” meaning extraordinary and widespread crop and pasture losses, and shortages of water in reservoirs. According to the Lower Colorado River Authority, “The eight months from October 2010 through May 2011 have been the driest eight-month period on record for Texas since 1895.” (Source: LCRA.org)
Maybe you never put much thought to a drought before – sure, there are limited hours for watering the lawn, but we have a seemingly endless supply of running water coming out of the faucet, we flush the toilet whenever we want, and most of us don’t exactly live off the food growing in our own back yards.
But if you are a part of Urban Acres, you are directly affected by the Texas drought. The food in your produce bin is being grown personally by our farmers who are struggling to survive in these record-breaking temperatures and lack of rain. Thanks to all of you who support these farmers with your voices and your dollars, we have been able to keep local, organic food coming.
The drought miracles are the tomatoes, the eggplant, the plump blueberries and juicy peaches you hold in your hands. The humanely raised meats that you put on your grill at a summer party. The fact is that local, organic food costs more – especially when farmers are having to spend so much more to water their crops or keep their animals hydrated and fed. But this also means the food is that much more precious.
For our beef farmers, there are additional challenges dealing with livestock, especially since they have committed to grass-fed and humane methods. Here’s the perspective of Gary Nitschke of Nitschke Natural Beef, which we carry at Urban Acres:
How dry is it? Last fall we did not get “normal” rainfall. We have not had “normal” precipitation this winter and spring and so far this summer. That means that we didn’t have “normal” winter pasture growth followed by a spring where we didn’t get “normal” spring pasture growth. Our perennial pastures do most of their growing in the spring. That didn’t happen this year. Our pastures in July look more like typical pastures in February. We are fortunate that we do have some creek-bottom acres where we have stockpiled forage for conditions such as this, but we must also bring in a lot of hay, and that is coming from progressively greater distances as the drought spreads.
We have 30 stock tanks on the Nitschke Natural Beef ranch that are normally used for watering livestock. Currently all but 5 of them are either dry or so low that they are stagnant. We are on a Rural Water Service pipeline and before this drought is over we may be watering livestock out of that. You see a lot of “Pray for Rain” signs. Sounds like a solid plan to me! – Gary Nitschke, Nitschke Natural Beef
So, on the behalf of our farmers, thank you for your continued support. Let’s hope and pray for some rain in Texas soon!
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Learn more about the current drought:
- Severe drought in Texas worst in map’s history from Business Week
- Texas Drought 2011: State Endures Driest 7-Month Span On Record from Huffington Post
- Drought Update from LCRA