Drought will cause $3 billion loss in Texas

CRAWFORD, Texas - It looks like harvest time in Texas, but for fourth-generation farmer Bert Gohlke it's actually a financial disaster.

"It hurts, it hurts bad, it hurts real bad," Gohlke tells CBS News correspondent Don Teague.

This could have been a great year for Gohlke - corn prices are near record highs. But instead of harvesting his 1,500 acres of corn, Gohlke is chopping it up into a feed called silage - the only salvageable use for a crop destroyed by drought.

"We should be dealing with 7-and-a-half foot corn right now," Gohlke says. But that's not the case.

His potential losses? More than a quarter of a million dollars - but that's just a fraction of the $3 billion the historic drought will cost Texas farmers and ranchers.

Watch: Texas suffering third-worst drought in history

Two hundred and fifty miles south, Rosalee Coleman is hurting too. A 70-year-old widow, she's running a cattle ranch on more than a thousand acres by herself.

"Other than raising three wonderful children, I feel like my greatest achievement has been to hold on to this land," Coleman says.

She needs every acre. With no real rain in nine months, she's been forced to move her cattle from pasture to pasture - just to find grass to sustain them.

Watch: Texas drought threatens livelihood of cattle ranchers

"In a normal season I would rotate every couple of weeks or every three weeks and a pasture would hold them easily for that long," Coleman says. "But with this kind of weather it's every four or five days."

Rosalee Coleman and Bert Gohlke are surviving thanks to money put away in good years and planning for drought.

Map of Texas drought

"Trying to figure out how you're going to make it to next year. Trying to figure out you know where we can cut corners, and keep going and maybe have a decent year next year," Gohlke says. "That's really what it's about, surviving. Trying to survive anyway, trying to survive."

But holding on is harder with each passing day. This week's forecast doesn't help - more heat and only a slight chance of rain.

  • Don Teague

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