Farmers in Central Texas feel strain from drought, inflation

On a farm east of Georgetown, feed-corn continues to be harvested. 

The land is owned by Clifton Kotrla, and from inside his combine, Kotrla has a good view of what's happening. That includes how a recent storm knocked down several rows corn.

It was a tough hit during another drought year with an added slap of inflation.

"This one is worse on us because the input cost is so great. The input cost is what's killing us. If everything was cheap, it would be different," said Kotrla.

A plan to help farmers and ranchers cope is being developed. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said he doubts state lawmakers will include any financial bail out.

"I’ve reached out to the Governor to ask him to extend the over-height over-weight limits on agriculture products, so we can bring in as much as a truck will hold. And because, as you know, the cost of diesel now is making freight and bringing the hay end, it's extremely expensive. So, we're doing that. We're working with local producers on my website at We have our hay hotline up where people can go look for hay or sale hay if you've got some. So we're doing everything we possibly can to relieve the situation," Miller said.

To help prepare for and understand future droughts, an effort is being made to expand a type of early warning system.

The National Weather Service is promoting a program called condition monitoring observation report. Essentially, it puts more boots and eyes in the fields.

"Nothing beats being able to actually see the conditions that are happening out in various portions of the area. And that definitely helps to confirm the information that the drought indicators are giving scientists as they draw the weekly maps and as they analyze the impacts of drought on the agriculture and ranching sectors," said Keith White with the National Weather Service.

The data includes providing historical perspective. That information could be used to draft action plans.

"Especially for people that are able to plan ahead for their planting schedules or for, you know, having enough hay available for their, you know, livestock, all that kind of stuff can definitely, you know, be done a lot better if they have the right data and the right information available to them when they need it," said White.

For farmers Clifton Kotrla, any help is appreciated. He is willing to sign up for the weather monitoring. 

"I’ll be doing the best I can, that's all I can do," said Kotrla.

About a dozen farmers and ranchers in Central Texas have signed up for the monitoring program.

FOX 7 is told even people in urban areas can participate.