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East Texas farmer says crop losses could lead to higher prices next year

WOOD COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) – It’s been a tough summer for East Texas farmers, many of whom have suffered a loss of up to 50% of their normal yield.

Now the concern of some farmers is how this will affect inflation and crop losses in the long run.

As Wood County farmer Lowell Tanksley husks garlic from his latest harvest, he looks back on a near-disastrous summer.

“When those 100 degree temperatures hit in June, I probably lost 50% of my tomatoes and peppers, and late cabbage over 80%,” he says.

He has been a farmer for 25 years.

Although it watered constantly, it just couldn’t stop the damage caused by the heat this summer.

“We have never had so many 100 degree days in June. It just stressed them out so much that my crops never came out of it. It wasn’t a lack of water, it was the heat,” Lowell says.

The produce seen in shops and farmers’ markets is only a fraction of what is harvested each season, with much of it saved or processed for store shelves the following season.

Will a low harvest create a shortage?

“I hope not, but I’m afraid it is. I have spoken to friends and other farmers and am worried about the food supply. I fear that so much agricultural land will be taken out of production. I think we are going to face stressful high prices,” says Tanksley.

Lowell also has friends in the beef business, and it hasn’t gone well for them this season either.

“The grass and the price of fodder, I know at least four who say it’s over. I see beef prices are really going to go up next year,” he says.

He has planted his fall crops and hopes a good fall harvest will turn things around.

“I have been a farmer all my life. There have been droughts, there have been floods. You can’t do anything about it. You just regroup the following year,” says Tanksley.

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