Experts: Drought effects will linger after rains

HOUSTON (AP) - Farmers, ranchers, credit bureaus and agricultural experts say the economic impacts from a historic drought that has parched Texas will be felt for years, even if the dry spell ends in 2012.

And the ripple effects will be felt nationwide as the drought's unprecedented impact on Texas agriculture forces food prices nationwide to increase more than expected.

The Texas House of Representative's Natural Resources Committee heard testimony Thursday in Austin on the drought's impacts and the state's preparedness. It is estimated the agriculture industry in Texas suffered a record $7.62 billion loss in 2011 due to the drought. State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon says he is encouraged by the current weather trends, but won't promise a wet 2012.

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