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Long-time rancher shares his experience during extreme drought conditions in South Texas

Woelfel said he's seen worse drought conditions over the last several decades, but this summer is already bringing its fair share of problems.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Rancher Stanley Woelfel has tended to more than 10,000 acres across Kleberg and Kenedy County for more than seven decades.

He said he's seen worse drought conditions over the last several decades, but this summer is already bringing with it its fair share of problems.

"Well, normally, during the summer, we don't get as dry as we are right now," Woelfel said. "This is just extra dry."

The land he maintains is covered in hay used to feed cattle, which will eventually head to auction, and then become our food. But without enough rain, that process gets disrupted.

"If you get an inch and a half of rain every two, or three, or four, or five weeks, it won't be this dry. It'll be green," Woelfel described.

In the area that 3NEWS spoke to Woelfel, there was one hay bale present. He said, during a typical year that isn't as affected by droughts, there would have been four hay bales where they stood.

"We try to feed as little as possible, because you can't make very much money raising cattle and buying hay to feed them," Woelfel explained. "That's why this hay right here, I'm not buying this."

For now, Woelfel said the dry conditions are manageable compared to some tough years he faced a decade ago, when he came very close to selling all of his cows. Those trying times were a learning lesson for him. "This is one of the things you fix, so you're not left high and dry," he added.

Woelfel said he has at least 500 hay bales stored for situations like these. As drought conditions dry out large areas of Kingsville that he has watched over for the last 70 years, he has no plans to stop farming.

"I love driving this tractor and baling this hay," Woelfel shared. "I'd rather be doing this than sitting in front of the television watching a ball game."

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