CBSN

Texas Farmers Are Struggling

A year after one of the worst droughts in Texas history, the fields of Stamford, Texas are full of potential, reports CBS News Correspondent Maureen Maher.

"We're expecting good yields this year," said farmer Rex Ford.

But instead of making up for last year's losses, this year's bumper cotton crop isn't selling at a profitable price. Farmers already in debt from the drought are in trouble yet again.

"The price is the bad part of it," explains Ford. "We're probably looking at hopefully 50 cents per pound, which is really not even a break even on cotton."

Last year's drought cost Texas farmers $1.5 billion, and the state's economy took a $4.5-billion hit. That's because when the crops in the heart of cotton country don't sell, the entire town feels it.

"We build one house every two years," says realtor Ed Ekdahl.

Ed Ekdahl is Stamford-born and raised. Over the years he's seen residents come, but with the growing economic struggle for farmers, he's mostly seen them go.

"This was a prosperous little town when I grew up here," says Ekdahl. "We had I guess five or six automobile dealerships around town. Now we don't even have a used car place in this town."

The ripple effect is evident everywhere. Empty storefronts are filled only with memories.

Griffin High's flower shop is a 76-year-old family business. He's struggling to make it to the century mark.

"There are a lot of us who grew up around here and we try to do a lot to promote the town and see that it survives," said High.

But even if they survive the scars from last year's dust bowl drought, this season's plentiful harvest will not be enough -- and there will likely be more heartache in the heartland.