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Extreme heat and dry conditions have major impact on Rice fields in Katy

Extreme heat and dry conditions have big impact on Rice fields in Katy

KATY – The extreme heat and drought conditions are having a big impact on farmers.

In Katy, Ken Jasek says it’s taking a tremendous amount of water to grow his rice fields.

Jasek has been growing and harvesting rice for over 30 years and owns Jasek Farms on Freeman Road near Waller County.

The intense heat and long drought is baking his rice fields and his retention pond dried up.

“Well, in Eagle Lake, we have no production this year because our water has been cut off. Here in Katy, we have three water wells on the farm, and they are producing less water,” he said.

One of his irrigation wells is working overtime to provide water to some of the rice fields.

“We have a lot of these fields that frankly can’t get any more water. We have to take it from one to another. We look at the one that will make the most production and that’s the one we are keeping the water on. We’ve already lost over 200 acres of rice so far,” he said.

On Monday, he invited KPRC ’s Re’Chelle Turner to ride along with him on his Combine and take a look at his rice fields that are suffering because of the extreme heat.

“Everybody should be concerned because we all eat,” he said.

On Monday, he invited KPRC 2’s Re’Chelle Turner to ride along with him on his Combine and take a look at his rice fields that are suffering because of the extreme heat.

“If you notice, there is no water in the fields. It’s dry. It should have water in it, but we are pumping it into another field that has more potential. We are trying to salvage as much rice as possible,” Jasek said.

Jasek has about 17 rice fields on his land and says only eight will make it through harvesting.

“We went from the cool spring temperature straight into the summer. When the faucet turned off as far as rain fall, it turned off. In the last 30 days, we’ve gotten a tenth of an inch of rain. In the last 45 days, we’ve gotten maybe an inch and a half total,” he said.

After pulling a sample of the rice, Jasek discovered some of the grains are green instead of a golden-brown color.

On Monday, the City of Katy entered Stage 3 of its Drought Contingency Plan. Severe Drought Conditions and mandatory restrictions for water usage are now in place.

“This year, the heat has been so intense. Not just 100 degrees, but we are talking 105, 106…108 and this wind is blowing right now we got a 15-mph wind. It’s dry and hot so it’s just sucking this water up. I bet most people with pools realize that they are pumping more water than they ever have. Well, our pool is 400 acres in size,” Jasek added.

Jasek said he’s already lost more than a half million dollars this year and says grocery store shoppers won’t see many changes to the cost of rice.

“Unfortunately, the farmer doesn’t get an awful lot of the money that you will see and pay in the store. We probably don’t even get 15% of what you are paying in the store,” he said.

Jasek says they will start the milling process soon. He will use whatever is left to make hay bales for his cattle. Like many Houstonians, he is hoping for some rain.

Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.

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Published Date: August 15, 2023

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