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Texas' summer drought impacts pumpkins during the fall

Some farmers aren't able to harvest their own pumpkins because of the lack of rain.

WEST, Texas — When you think of Fall, you probably think of pumpkins and all of the festivities surrounding them. But this past summer's drought has made pumpkin season not as fun for farmers.

Heat and dry air don't exactly mesh well with pumpkin growth. Farms like Western Belle Farm have been forced to buy their pumpkins from a third party just to put on their first ever Fall festival.

"We had to end our sunflower festival this summer because of the drought so the drought has affected us for a while. For us, the pumpkin drought began last October when we initially began harvesting for this year," Co-owner of Western Belle farm Taylor Huffman explained.

Buying pumpkins from another source took a toll on Huffman and her husband as they weren't prepared to have to outsource pumpkins when they have the acres to harvest their own.

"What we spent on one tractor trailer load, we grew over 25 acres last year, which would have filled that same tractor trailer at least 15 times. So it is significantly more expensive and not necessarily budgeted for to have to purchase in all of our pumpkins," Huffman continued. 

The drought has affected nearly all farmers who harvest other crops like cotton and oats.

Texas Farm Bureau spokesperson Gary Joiner works with other local farmers and is still working to come up with a plan to help farmers with what they need as inflation doesn't make this issue any easier.

"Right now, everything's expensive, inflation is hitting agriculture like it's hitting everyone at the grocery store. The cost of those goods is more so some of that planning is still very much being sharpened with a pencil to try to find a way to continue to make agriculture profitable even when those higher costs are in front of them," Joiner explained. 

But the show must go on and Huffman is hoping to bring in a crowd for the duration of the pumpkin festival.

The Western Belle Festival will kick of at 9 a.m. Sat. Sept. 24 at 7929 Heritage Parkway, West, TX 76691. More information can be found on their Facebook page.

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