San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

September 23rd, 2009
Drought relief available for Hays county farmers, ranchers


U.S. Congressman Lloyd Dogget (D-Austin) recently announced that Central Texas farmers and ranchers can now visit their local Farm Service Agency to sign up for payments made available by the Livestock Forage Disaster Program.

The program is a disaster aid provision contained in the Farm Bill that passed Congress last year.

“Texas farmers and ranchers have finally seen a few drops of rain,” Doggett said. “Now, they’ll finally see a few drops of federal aid. These dollars have not arrived soon enough, but I am pleased that our local producers will get the drought relief they desperately need and deserve.”

Ranchers who opted into the Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) for their pastures or grazing lands will see payments begin immediately. The payments will be made for both 2008 and 2009 losses. Per adult beef cow, the payment will be $53.70 for 2008 and $72.07 for 2009.

The Livestock Forage Disaster Program provides more than the previous Livestock Compensation Program that assisted those affected by droughts in 2005-2007. A rancher with 75 head of cattle was eligible for less than $800 under the old program. The same rancher can qualify for more than $4,000 for 2008 losses through the new program, and an estimated $5,400 for 2009 losses.

Central Texas ranchers and farmers have experienced the worst drought in the nation. Agriculture losses are estimated at more than $3.6 billion and are continuing to rise.

For more information contact the Service Center Office of the Caldwell-Hays-Comal County Farm Service Agency at 1403-A BlackJack in Lockhart, or call (512) 398-4176, Extension 2.

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0 thoughts on “Drought relief available for Hays county farmers, ranchers

  1. Does anyone know enough about these disaster declarations to comment on whether there is money available to the city or county, which, with a little creativity, could be used for long-term solutions like rainwater collection?

    I believe the county filed for federal disaster assistance in March, is this tied to that filing, or are there multiple programs/paths for disaster relief funds?

  2. We have the potential to save a massive amount of taxpayer money to be allocated elsewhere by just halting the continued allocation of wasteful and unnecessary tax dollars to the Police Departments. Law Enforcement tactics and decisions have done enough harm to our community, it’s time we stop rewarding them with more funding to be wasted in “training programs and sessions” where the job can always be done for a quarter of the price. It’s time we take a good look at our Police Officers and they way they consistently abuse their authority and reputation with the good citizens of their community and what those actions mean at large about the role and training these individuals are receiving. What was once protection has turned to persecution and prosecution; waiting to recognize this problem will only exacerbate it.

  3. From: Tom Goynes
    Subject: Protest a waste of water on the San Marcos River
    Date: Thursday, September 24, 2009, 3:42 PM

    Dear Mike McClabb,

    First of all. my apologies for multiple postings. I’m
    having some technological problems…

    A wealthy developer from the Houston
    area has been busy creating a waterski mecca and subdivision on the San
    Marcos River. It is located just downstream of Sculls Crossing, which is
    about ten miles downstream of the city of San Marcos. It extends all the
    way to the Martindale Low Water Bridge. It involves three large lakes, all
    of which are to be kept full with water pumped from the San Marcos River.
    The land came with an irrigation water right – one hundred fifty acre-feet
    of water (visualize a lake one hundred fifty acres in area, one foot deep).
    You can read all about the development (and maybe even buy a little piece of
    heaven) at their website:

    Guadalupe River system (which includes the San Marcos River) has a
    watermaster. He’s a guy (with a staff) who works for the Texas Commission
    on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) who determines when there is enough water in
    a river for a permit holder to pump his or her water right. The water right
    permit for the “Ranch” states that, during the Summer months – from May
    through August – there has to be a flow of at least 130 cfs at the Luling
    USGS gage in order for the Ranch to pump river water. And, to the credit of
    the watermaster, this limit has been enforced. Unfortunately, the developer
    has been doing all kinds of things to try to get around this restriction –
    like drilling wells right beside the river. Mike McClabb, a Texas Rivers
    Protection Association (TRPA) member who lives right across from the
    development has been very diligent in turning in any such activity.

    If the
    pumping limit was 130 cfs year round (or perhaps even as low as 100 cfs
    during the rest of the year) then we might be willing to let this thing
    alone. But the watermaster has determined that the limit from September
    through April is only 34 cfs. In other words, this guy can pump water as
    long as there is at least 34 cfs showing on the Luling gage. Even during
    the 50’s drought the river never got below 34 cfs! We feel that this is an

    It is insane that our State has granted individuals, cities
    and businesses enough water from our rivers to dry them up. But, if the
    water was truly being used for a beneficial use (like the permits all say) –
    and it benefited all the people of Texas – we might be able to put up with
    the system. But when this free grant of water – this water right – is
    converted from water that was intended to be used to grow crops, and is now
    being used to fill lakes for waterskiing – then it is an outrage. When
    people are turning off their water when they brush their teeth, and letting
    their lawns and trees die, so the State can give that water to a waterski
    subdivision – then it is an OUTRAGE!

    In addition to this lake, we have
    several others along the river that are permitted under Texas riparian water
    rights. In this state, if you own river front property, you can either pump
    enough water from the river to irrigate a one acre lawn and garden, or you
    can pump up to 200 acre-feet to keep your private lake filled. We don’t
    have a problem with the one acre right, but the 200 acre-foot lakes are an

    At any rate, Mike McClabb and the TRPA have organized a protest of
    this waterski lake (and the State of Texas that allows it to operate). The
    protest will be at high noon this Saturday, Sept. 26. We will be at the
    Scull’s Road entrance to the San Marcos River Ranch (it is about a half mile
    west of the Sculls bridge).

    I realize that this is short notice, but the
    weather is nice, and the rivers have a little water in them, so, if you can
    spare some time Saturday, please try to make it. Contact me if you have any
    questions or if you need directions.

    Tom Goynes
    President Texas Rivers
    Protection Association
    512-392-6171 cell: 512-787-5574

  4. Water is the new gold, and we need to get our priorities straight. Recreational and asthetic use vs. survival (all species) use. How many water ski lakes/golf courses do we need in our area? If you ask the majority of people , they understand the importance of conserving water and have voted for river protection laws, and yet our government agencies continue to NEGOTIATE with developers for vanity lakes???

    It’s demoralizing for residents and homeowners who make the efforts and sacrifices to conserve water (water collections, not watering lawns, not washing vehicles etc.)when a handful of developers (and gov’t agencies) thumb their nose at the urgency of dealing with water shortages.

    I wish Newstreamz had covered this event.

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