East Texas agriculture experts point out positive side of drough - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

East Texas agriculture experts point out positive side of drought

Crispin Skinner, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent Crispin Skinner, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent
Al Schmidt, Nacogdoches Natural Resources Conservation Extension Agent Al Schmidt, Nacogdoches Natural Resources Conservation Extension Agent
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

An unrelenting drought is crippling life for many East Texans, limiting food supply for livestock, blazing heat, and creating the perfect conditions for wildfires.

Agriculture experts say there is a silver lining for everyone.

"I guess the lack of water, mosquitoes don't have breeding grounds, thus we have fewer mosquitoes," said Nacogdoches Natural Resources Conservation District Conservationist, Al Schmidt.

Nacogdoches County Agriculture Extension Agent, Crispin Skinner is noticing a drop-off in the number of insect-borne illnesses.

"We don't have as many cases of encephalitis or West Nile virus, dealing with humans or dealing with our livestock, like our horses," said Skinner.

Some may actually save money during the drought. Organizers of large outdoor events, like festivals, are skipping a call to the exterminator.

"Just for them to come out and do an evaluation, it can be 100 or it can be 2 or 300 dollars just to do an evaluation. If they start doing any type of application, the price keeps on going up," said Skinner.

Skinner says lower water levels are a rare opportunity to start fresh.

"It gives you an opportunity to clean the silt out because over time when water runs into a pond, it will carry silt from the various activities. And, that fills in the area of the pond that was intended to hold water," said Schmidt.

One of the trickle-down benefits includes drinking water for livestock.

"A better water quality and also we have more capacity of water when we do have rainfall eventually and those ponds start filling back up," said Skinner.

The drought sheds light on water conservation and the far-reaching impact of the agriculture industry on Texas.

Skinner says it's a tough lesson we won't soon forget.

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