In Press: Lingering drought has huge impact on rural Texas communities
By: Norman Martin
This month Darren Hudson, a professor within Texas Tech's Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics, was featured in a cotton-related economics article by Janet Shamlian and Chris Laible for CBS Evening News. Here's part of the takeaway.
Many tractors and other farm equipment are sitting idle across Texas as the cotton harvest season gets underway. The region produces more than a third of the nation's cotton. Now, climate change is threatening the $7 billion industry.
Extreme drought and a sustained summer heatwave are taking an unprecedented toll. Many farmers had to plow fields without irrigation because plants were burning up. Statewide, almost 70% of cotton crops were abandoned. Economists predict a $2 billion hit to Texas.
“Most of these towns — probably 75% to 80% — is derived from cotton,” said Darren Hudson, Texas Tech's Larry Combest Endowed Chair for Agricultural Competitiveness. “So when that goes away, it has a huge impact on rural communities.”
Hudson says crop insurance will help only farmers. Elsewhere, thousands of jobs will be affected — from truckers, who drive cotton, to small town restaurants and grocery stores, where workers spend paychecks, to cotton gins, which are now eerily quiet after normally running around the clock.
With less cotton available, everyone will be paying more, experts say. “We would anticipate impacts on prices for consumer goods,” Hudson said. “It ripples through the entire economy.”
Hudson, who joined the Davis College faculty in 2008, received his master's and doctorate degrees from Texas Tech. His research broadly focuses on agricultural policy and trade, economic development, marketing and consumer demand, and behavioral economics.
CONTACT: Darren Hudson, Professor, Larry Combest Endowed Chair for Agricultural Competitiveness and Director of International Center for Agricultural Competitiveness, Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-0546 or email@example.com
1107NM22 / Editor's Note: To view the CBS Evening News report that featured Texas Tech's Darren Hudson, please click here