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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Grazinglands Research Laboratory » Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research » Research » Research Project #434616

Research Project: Building Resilience After Disaster: Enhancing Texas Agricultural Production After Hurricane Harvey

Location: Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research

Project Number: 3070-11130-006-14-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 15, 2018
End Date: Sep 30, 2019

Objective:
• Assess the factors that contributed to agricultural system vulnerability before and during Hurricane Harvey, as well as existing system resiliency and capacity that mitigated its impacts. • Develop recommendations for increasing agricultural system resilience in Texas to the impacts of extreme weather and climate events. • Identify opportunities to improve USDA’s program performance and deliver critical services during and after extreme events.

Approach:
Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast in August 2017; the record rainfall and flooding it induced resulted in unprecedented impacts totaling more than $200B. Agricultural interests were particularly hard-hit; crop losses were estimated in excess of $150M, numerous livestock were injured or killed, and pest and food safety concerns were elevated in the storm’s aftermath. A key element of the state’s post-Harvey response, such as the Rebuild Texas effort, is to understand the vulnerabilities of agricultural production systems to extreme events such as hurricanes, so that future risks can be reduced through enhanced system resiliency and management strategies. This project will develop recommendations for building agricultural resilience in Texas based on lessons learned from Hurricane Harvey, drawing on the perspectives of farmers and ranchers; conservation, technology, and industry interests; and local and state officials.