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Southeast Texas rancher says drought has some benefits
NOME - by Lauren Huet
Texas is still in the midst of what a Texas A&M researcher dubs the second worst drought on record in Texas. Most Texans would love to see pools of standing water like the ones in Southeast Texas.
Cattle rancher, rice farmer, and turf farmer, Mike Doguet, said he's happy with the amount of rain Southeast Texas gets in a drought.
"I always say, when we get in a drought in this area, it's about perfect," said Doguet, "We end up with about 40 or 45 inches of rain, and really that's better for farming and cattle ranching because you got time to get in the fields and get things done."
Although Southeast Texas ranchers and farmers are receiving enough water, the rest of Texas isn't. A recent report by the National Climatic Data Center rates 54 percent of Texas rangeland and pastures to be in poor to very poor condition. Mike Doguet said, that because of this drought, Texas has lost over a million cattle.
"Back two to three years ago, when it was real severe drought in Texas, we actually supplied most of the hay for Texas, because we still had green grass here," said Doguet.
The drought hit crops hard in other parts of Texas.
"So we've lost about 60 thousand acres out of the state of Texas, just in rice alone," said Doguet.
The lost acreage of rice benefits local rice farmers.
"The price, actually, reflects the less rice being grown," said Doguet. "It's up about a dollar to a hundred weight to the local farmers because we are short [of rice] in Texas. So it has been a plus for our area farmers."
Farmers like Mike Doguet. Doguet grows not only rice, but farms turf and raises cattle in a region that gets rain even during a drought.
Meteorologist Kerry Cooper said Southeast Texas had below normal rainfall up until three to four weeks ago.
"We had a weak cool front come down and it stalled in the area, we had plenty of moisture, some areas ended up with a foot of rain out of two different events," said Cooper. "That got us caught back up in the Southeast Texas/Golden Triangle. We're in great shape here."
Mike Doguet plans to stay in Nome, Texas, all of his days.
"Thirty-three years I've been raising cattle, and I've never been in a situation where we didn't have green grass in this area," said Doguet.