AP NEWS

Rancher recovers from from $40K loss after Harvey

August 19, 2018

Law Ranch Cattle Company owner Ray Law was initially relieved the floods from Hurricane Harvey didn’t damage his pastures.

But his relief was short lived.

While Law’s 120 mama cows were safe from the floods, business for the local ranchers started to take a big hit because no one was in the market to buy meat at the time.

“First of all a huge part of my clientele was flooded out of their homes. I go to the Kingwood Farmers Market … and that market was out for a while. If you have no house you’re not going to be buying meat,” Law said.

In a previous article, a 2018 Coalition for the Homeless tally showed an increase of homeless people in Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties in the year following Harvey.

Last year’s assessment located 3,605 homeless people in Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties — 2,287 of them sheltered and 1,318 unsheltered.

This year, 18 percent of the unsheltered homeless said they were on the streets because of Harvey, whether it was their first time to be homeless or not.

Meaning, the Law Ranch Cattle Company was on hold for the rest of 2017 as the community continued to recover from one of the worst natural disasters in Houston history.

Law said he lost about $40,000 in gross sales. Law is not the only rancher who suffered in Harvey’s wake, however.

According to Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service Economists, Hurricane Harvey caused more than $200 million in crop and livestock losses in parts of south central Texas and the upper Gulf Coast.

Law is only certified to sell his products in Texas and he mainly makes a living in Harris and Galveston counties by going to local farmers markers and through agreements with local grocery stores in the area.

Before Harvey, Law sold 1,200 pounds of meat every week.

“I had two butchers that I use and one them was flooded,” he said. “He had to get all of that cleaned up, the state has to come and reinspect everything making sure it’s clean and back up to standards for meat.”

Fortunately, Law had some rental property he manages to help make up for the loss of his cattle business.

But the losses extended past his cows.

The cattle rancher also lost lost 40 out of the 70 chicks he was raising in the barn due to the floods. Law only had those chicks for a week before Harvey hit.

“The water that got into their barn was about 2-3 inches deep. They didn’t drown but they sat in that water and they got hypothermia and just (died),” Law said.

The cows on the other hand enjoyed the cool weather that came along with Harvey.

Business started picking up again for Law in January as people slowly started moving back into their homes and farmers markets and grocery stores were coming back for business.

“Everything is fine now,” Law said. “My June-July sales were pretty similar compared to what they were last year. So that’s good. And we’ll see how it goes from here out.”

kaila.contreras@chron.com

AP RADIO
Update hourly