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South Texas drought dries farmers hopes for rain

Most residents are wanting rain for their lawns, but for the agriculture industry, the lack of rain can be devastating.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Farmers, entrepreneurs and market growers gathered at the Grow Local South Texas Farmers Market and spoke with 3NEWS on their hopes for the future of their farms and how they’re managing with the lack of rain. 

Jaime Bustos with Terra Madre Mini Farm understands farmers are at the mercy of the weather.

"Nature does what it's going to do and there's not a pleasant thing we can do. What we want, we just can wish that it would rain," Bustos said.

Bustos added that a lot of plants are struggling. Not only by the drought, but the heat as well.

"A lot of plants are in fact struggling, we grow a myriad of vegetables. And so some of them were not acclimated to the no rain, so we're struggling to get them irrigated,” Bustos said.

Walking further into the market, you’ll find Woody Riley with Riley Family Farms who has a similar take on the drought. He says it’s been tough on the small farmer.

“Fortunately we’re small enough to irrigate, so the drought’s definitely impacted us, with all the other things happening in the world. Cost of transportation, shipping, fertilizer, and other inputs," Riley said.

Supply and demand is not only affecting consumers when you can’t find a product on the shelf. The cost of ingredients for small businesses like Sherry’s Jams N' Jellies – are feeling the heat too. 

Sherry Castle, owner of Sherry's Jams N' Jellies go through 2,000 pounds of sugar a year.

"When you're looking at the cost of the sugar, going up 70 cents per 10 pounds, multiplied by 200. That is... that's huge," Castle said.

Across the courtyard you’ll find Ryan McNabb, owner of McNabb Microfarm. He uses his vertical farming technique for some of his plants, which is anything but small.

"You put it indoors and put it on shelves and so we have these trays that you can put your dirt or whatever medium that you need to grow your plants and you can adjust it with whatever nutrients you need," McNabb said.

The drought isn’t affecting their business as much, but one thing is clear, no one wants another rain check on wet weather.

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