Recovery of Texas Small Family Farms Following Hurricane Harvey

Authors: James Buratti*, Texas State University
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Agricultural Geography, Rural Geography
Keywords: Hurricane Harvey, disaster, recovery, Texas, farms, rural, agriculture
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: Download


The purpose of this research is to track, survey and interview the owners of Hurricane Harvey affected small family farms in central and coastal Texas. Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 Hurricane, made landfall 30 mile NE of Corpus Christi, TX on August 25th, 2017. Peak wind gusts at landfall were 132 MPH and storm surges of 12 feet destroyed buildings and infrastructure. After landfall Harvey then stalled, producing 40-60.5 inches of torrential rain, flooding coastal, central and south Texas. Harvey’s high winds and record flooding impacted a large, rural population of family farms, with early agricultural damage estimates at over $200 million. Sixty counties were declared disaster areas by the state. These counties contain 77,841 farms encompassing 20,767,979 acres of farmland, while 94% of Texas’s farms are classified as small family farms. In addition to the known obstacles of disaster recovery, such as supply disruption, interrupted power, communication and water supplies, and lack of labor, family farms face the additional obstacles of lack of business insurance, limited financial resources, geographic isolation from needed supplies, daily needs of surviving livestock including clean food and water, the extended time needed to grow new crops or livestock, and the loss of markets, among others. The research population will be identified through disaster relief programs administered through various non-profit associations. Next steps will be to survey affected farms to determine their current operating status and request interviews. This research can help guide resilience and recovery strategies specific to small family farms.

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