Texas Pecan Orchards Are Facing Years Of Hurricane Recovery

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelOctober 31, 2017 2:19 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Texas attorney general goes after gas stations for price-gouging

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has accused more than 100 gas stations of price-gouging in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

His office made the announcement Monday and said in all of the cases, consumers allege they were charged $3.99 or more for a gallon of gas. The statement also said alleged offenders can either resolve the matter with his office or face legal action. Under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, offenders could pay civil penalties as high as $20,000 per violation.

Paxton added that many of the businesses that received notices of violations are located in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Pecan farmers see smaller crops after Harvey

Hurricane Harvey led to over $200-million in agricultural losses in Texas, from ruined cotton crops to livestock deaths. That’s according to the Texas Farm Bureau.

Pecan orchards are also expected to see a loss this year as a result of the storm. Pecan harvesting season runs from mid-September through February in the state. Kathryn Cargo, a reporter for the Victoria Advocate, found that a couple of local orchard owners have lost 80 percent of their pecan crop this year as a result of Harvey.

“They had some downed trees and then a large majority of their trees had a lot of limb damage,” Cargo says. She adds, “They may or may not be able to collect some of them this year because the wind has like blown them off.”

Dr. Larry Stein, a pecan specialist with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, says in addition to wind damage, all the rain and flooding from Harvey will take a similar toll on pecans. “The symptoms for too much water are the same as not and if you have too much water it means you have no oxygen in the root zone,” Stein says. “And if you have no oxygen in the root zone, the tree cannot take up water or nutrients.”

Dr. Stein says one of the biggest challenges facing pecan farmers is whether or not it’s even worth it to harvest water-logged trees this year. “There’s a lot of pecans that turned black this year before they were fully mature,” says Stein. “I mean you have a harvestable nut there, but when you open them up, you don’t have a whole lot of kernel in there.” Dr. Stein predicts it could take two to three years for damaged pecan trees to recover.

Curious to learn more about what it’s like to be a pecan farmer in Texas? Here’s a video from the Texas Farm Bureau.

A Texas-inspired superhero is all about the burger

Move aside, Superman and Wonder Woman. One Texan has come up with a brand new superhero for Halloween – Whatawoman!

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Renee Fujii’s homemade costume is the result of many trips to the favorite Texas burger chain.

Foam coffee cups frame her wrists, she’s fashioned an apple pie container into a tiara, and her legging armor is made from large drink cups.