South Texas Cotton Crop
We’ve all seen the pictures and stories on the news of the devastation in south Texas brought by Hurricane Harvey. Harvey made landfall in one of the Lone Star state’s prime cotton growing and livestock areas, the Coastal Bend. Mary Jan Buerkle, Director of Communications with Plains Cotton Growers shares what they know regarding agriculture in south Texas:
“We’ve heard a lot of reports of just awful, awful damage, devastation. We know from photos posted to social media and from some of our friends down there, there’s been extensive damage to at least one gin.”
And while extremely early in the game, crop loss estimates are coming in:
“Estimated, at this point, that Hurricane Harvey could cost cotton farmers in excess of $100 million.”
And as in many parts of the country, producers in south Texas were sitting on a bumper crop.
Harvey Forces Shutdown of Texas Ports, Threatens Others
Two major ports along the Gulf of Mexico in Texas are closed following the flooding and damage from Hurricane Harvey. Ports at the Texas Gulf account for about 24 percent of U.S. wheat exports, three percent of corn shipments and two percent of soybeans. In 2011, the Port of Corpus Christi ranked 13th in the Nation for total waterborne agricultural exports, moving about four million metric tons of cargo. The same year, the Port of Houston ranked sixth in the Nation for total waterborne agricultural exports and ninth for containerized exports, according to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
GAO Recommends Lowering Crop Insurance Expected Rate of Return
The Government Accountability Office is recommending that Congress considers directing the Department of Agriculture to adjust the expected rate of return for crop insurance. In 2010, USDA negotiated a set rate of return with crop insurance providers. The return is how much companies can profit from insurance policies. In a report released last week, the GAO found that the expected rate of return was too high compared with market conditions.