Okla. ag losses from drought exceed $1.6B
Preliminary estimates by Oklahoma State University's Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources indicate that Oklahoma has suffered more than $1.6 billion in drought-related agricultural losses this year.
Division officials caution that the results are preliminary while acknowledging the need to release statistics determined thus far so as to allow individuals, organizations, civic leaders and government officials to more effectively address various drought-related concerns and issues.
Preliminary estimates of the 2011 drought's effect on production agriculture in Oklahoma are:
--General crops, such as grains, hay, soybeans and cotton, $904,954,156;
--Specialty crops, such as fruits, vegetables and nuts, $11,156,017;
--Horticultural crops, such as sod or greenhouse and nursery products, $81,836,500; and
--Livestock, primarily cattle but including other animals, $667,600,000.
"These estimates most likely represent a lower end of the overall impact, as we have not yet accounted for off-farm impacts to farm suppliers as producers try to minimize costs, or reduced recreational and residential use because of lower lake levels, water-use restrictions and the like," said Dave Shideler, OSU Cooperative Extension agricultural economist.
The estimates were generated using the latest available U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service data for each production classification as a base.
"We're working on estimates of compensation that farmers and ranchers might receive because of the drought, though these funds will not replace lost production but rather enable producers to plant for next season and replace lost income caused by failed crops," Shideler said.
The estimates are the result of a team of division agricultural economists led by Derrell Peel, OSU Cooperative Extension livestock marketing specialist; Damona Doye, OSU Cooperative Extension farm management specialist; Roger Sahs, OSU Cooperative Extension agricultural economist; and Merritt Taylor, director of the division's Wes Watkins Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Lane, near Atoka in southwestern Oklahoma, as well as Shideler.
"I may be the point man but all due credit must be given to these individuals and the rest of the division's faculty and staff who have been working to gather and categorize this information so that everyone can have a more accurate sense of the drought's effect on the state," Shideler said.