GEORGE WEST, Texas — Jaime Bustos has been farming since he was a kid and says that the culture kind of stayed with him.
Now he owns Terra Madre Mini Farm in Corpus Christi and sells vegetables at the farmer’s market and to local restaurants.
He’s passionate about growing vegetables because it’s a healthier alternative to fast-food restaurants.
"I kind of like to work with the soil,” he said.
But a big threat has been challenging his business — a drought in the Coastal Bend.
“This has been one of the worst, that I can recall and I’ve been doing this for quite some time,” he said.
He, along with his farmhand, Anthony Martinez, are having to use cardboard to cover his crops. It’s a method they use to keep the moisture in, but Bustos said the cardboard sometimes flies off.
The heavy winds are a challenge because they can rip vegetables off of their stems.
As for the drought, they’re having to use alternative methods other than relying on rain to fall onto their crops.
“We can either use some hoses but a lot of times we have to do it by hand when the rain hasn’t come. We put a lot of barrels out to collect rainwater,” Martinez said.
Stanley Schilling is a cattle rancher who is also facing challenges growing hay because of the drought.
Normally he starts seeding around early to mid-march, but the drought is making that harder. He barely got to seed this month.
He said the drought is causing a lack of moisture in the soil but said the weather conditions from last year helped.
“The magnitude of this drought has been manageable to this point because of the tremendous moisture we had in 2021,” Schilling said.
If the drought continues, it can impact cattle who rely on the hay to eat.
He said hopefully he will have his first harvest of hay this September but that’s usually when he has his second harvest, so this drought is making it hard to stay on schedule.
This could also impact next year’s harvest of hay even worse.
“If we stay dry into summer, you could totally deplete that soil of moisture and it has an effect on future crops in 23,” Schilling said.