Massive floods that swept through Hereford, Texas, on Saturday inundated the town and its surroundings, impacting local farms and feedlots. The storm included hail and powerful 100-year rains — cars, livestock pens, and homes were left underwater as locals evacuated.
After the storms, water was reported by local news channels as reaching three-to-four feet in height over the highways.
“It has never been this bad, it got like I say, all the way to the church, to the San Jose mission and I have never seen this in 57 years that I’ve been here,” Mona Hernendez, a San Jose resident and secretary for Deaf Smith County fresh water told a local news station.
The Texas city of Hereford is proudly known as the “Beef Capital of the World.” In the 1960s, cattle feeding began to flourish — now, the area feeds more than 1 million head of cattle per year.
While livestock can do relatively well when unconfined, low-lying pens can prove dangerous to confined livestock during flooding. The Texas Cattle Feeders’ Association told newchannel10 that they don’t know the exact number of cattle that have died due to the floods.
Hereford raises more than just beef; the area is home to dairy cattle that produce over 1 billion pounds of milk annually.
As farmers and ranchers work to care for their livestock, increased stress may provide an immunity challenge. Flood waters can carry bacteria, viruses, and parasites to the area while also impacting feed sources.
Texas A&M advises producers to ensure they have an emergency preparedness and response plan in place — the most likely emergency scenario in Texas is flooding. Ensuing livestock cannot reenter flooded and dangerous areas is advised, while continuing to provide access to food and clean water.
After flood events, producers will begin inventorying livestock and identifying missing animals while making repairs to pastures and pens.
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