Ag expert: It’s a risky but potentially profitable year for growing wheat and corn.
Wheat is among commodities that could be impacted by conflict between Ukraine and Russia. But even with uncertainity in the Black Sea region, along with drought and high fuel prices, small-grains farmers in Central Texas could have a profitable year, according to a Texas ag economist. Laura McKenzie photo
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
Drought. Fuel and fertilizer prices. Product availability. The war in Ukraine. The list goes on.
There’s a lot of challenges facing local farmers right now, but a Central Texas grain expert says the reward of growing corn and wheat may be worth the risk.
“A year ago, corn was bringing $6 a bushel and winter wheat about $5.50,” said March Welch, a Texas AgriLife agricultural economist. “Those were good prices. But today, crops are bringing much more.”
Welch said corn is now bringing more than $8 a bushel and wheat prices have almost doubled.
“There’s a lot that can go wrong, but at this point high returns are still possible,” Welch said. “If we get some spring rains and if farmers are able to purchase fertilizer, with these prices farmers can have a profitable year. That’s assuming the price holds and we have average or above avereage production years for corn and wheat.”
Welch said one reason he expects grain prices to remain high is because of disruptions in world grain supplies caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Both Russia and Ukraine are big producers and exporters of wheat and corn,” he said. “Ukraine is the world’s third largest exporter of corn. Prices were already high because demand has outweighed supplies.”
“The world grain market was in short supply before the conflict started, and now the supply is shrinking because the movement of grains is very restricted in the Black Sea region,” Welch said.
Trade restrictions implemented by the US and its allies have limited much of Russia’s grain exportation.
“I’ve heard that Russia has a few trade routes to the Mideast and to Northern Africa, but again, movement is very limited,” he said. “The same in Ukraine — they control highways and train yards in the western part of the country and are able to export some grains to Europe. But, overall exports in both Russia and Ukraine are very restricted and far below normal.”
Supplies in the rest of the world also are very tight right now. Corn is being planted this month in most of Texas — including the Temple area — and winter wheat won’t be harvested until June and July.
“Supplies are tight, and the ability to increase supplies is months away,” Welch said.
High fuel prices are making every phase of farming more expensive.
“Planting, fertilizing, irrigating and harvesting all cost more this year,” he said. “Fertilizers are at record highs and some can’t be bought at all, adding challenges to the investments of Texas farmers.”
Today in Temple, average diesel prices are $4.85 per gallon — down a few cents from a week ago but far above the $2.82 on March 24, 2021.
The lack of field moisture is another problem challenging Texas farmers this year. Most regions of the state are in a severe drought, but lake, pond and aquifer levels are dropping.
“We really need good rain this spring,” Welch said. “Irrigation isn’t possible for many area farmers, and it would be extremely expensive for those that can because of fuel prices.”
So while the farmers face unprecedented risk this season, Welch said it’s definitely worth putting a crop in the field.
“If we get some spring rains, the prices of small grains are high enough to make it a profitable year even with soaring costs,” he said.
POLICE & A PONY
Temple police officers were at Wings Pizza N Things on Wednesday night for Tip a Cop, a fundraiser for Special Olympics Texas. Several officers were participating in the event, waiting tables and delivery food inside, and entertaining kids with a pony out front. The fundraiser helps provide sports training and competitions for children and adults with intellectual diseases. David Stone photo
T-TOWN GRIDIRON GREATS
Hall of Famer Bobby Dillon known for his speed and thrilling returns
By VINCENT MUNDY, special to Our Town Temple
T-Town gridder Bobby Dillon, Class of 1946, is the lone Temple High graduate in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
As a Wildcat he participated in football, basketball, boxing and was also captain of the track team as a sprinter.
His sprinter's speed suited him as the Cat's featured running back, and he was just as dangerous returning punts and interceptions. His triple-threat capabilities earned him a scholarship to the University of Texas.
Bobby's playmaking capabilities continued for the Longhorns, and he became known for his long punt and interception returns.
In a 1950 game at Baylor, he returned a punt 84 yards for the go-ahead touchdown and later intercepted the ball in the end zone to preserve the victory.
In 1951 as team captain, he was named to the All-Southwest Conference team and gained All-American status. He lettered three years in football and two years on the track team.
The Green Bay Packers selected him in the third Round of the 1952 draft and he played 8 seasons with the Pack. THS teammate Bill Lucky joined him on the Packers for the 1955 season. Dillon was named to numerous All-Pro teams as a safety and finished his Green Bay career in 1959 with 52 interceptions, a team record that still stands. In 1974 he was inducted into the prestigious Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
Bobby's grandsons, Weston and Dillon Gooch, were Temple Wildcats in the early 2000's. Weston kicked a game clinching 41-yard field goal in overtime to defeat the Belton Tigers. Older brother Dillon was an outstanding golfer, lettering four years at Temple, eventually golfing for Texas A&M.
As far as I'm aware, there is no memorialization of Bobby Dillon in his hometown of Temple, where he worked and resided following his football career. His induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame would justify the retiring of his uniform No. 11 by Temple ISD. Beyond football, Bobby was a very kind and humble person in the game of life.
For more about Wildcat football legends, visit the Facebook page Temple Texas Football Legacy
Bobby Dillion excelled in football, track, boxing and basketball, and he is the only Temple High graduate in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
THURSDAY | MARCH 24, 2022
TODAY’S BEST BETS :
Red’s Taproom Trivia at Fire Base Brewing. 7 p.m. Lupita’s Food Truck
Happy, happy hour at Corkys! 4-6 p.m.
To include your events in What’s Happening and Today’s Best Bets, email information to OurTownTemple@gmail.com. Photos are welcome to for use in the publication as space permits!
Before taking the head football coach job at Temple High, Bob McQueen won three district championships at another Central Texas high school. Where was he?
On this day in 1825, the Mexican legislature, meeting in Saltillo, passed the State Colonization Law of March 24, 1825. The legislation was designed to bring about the peopling of Coahuila and Texas. It encouraged farming, ranching, and commerce. For a nominal fee, the law granted settlers as much as a square league (4,428.4 acres) of pastureland and a labor (177.1 acres) of farmland. Immigrants were temporarily free of every kind of tax. Newcomers had to take an oath promising to abide by the federal and state constitutions, to worship according to the Christian (i.e., Catholic) religion, and to display sound moral principles and good conduct. After accepting these terms and settling in Texas, immigrants earned the standing of naturalized Mexicans. Empresarios Stephen F. Austin and Green DeWitt, among others, started their colonies under this law.
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On this day in 1912, Sam Kruger, Jewish immigrant and founder of Kruger Jewelry Company, married poet Fania Feldman in Fort Worth. Sam Kruger was born in the Ukraine in 1882. He and his brother Julius immigrated to New York in 1904, then around 1907 moved to Texas. Sam brought his other relatives from the Ukraine to New York and Fort Worth, where he trained them in the jewelry business. His nephews, Morris and William Zale, joined the family business and in 1912 moved to Wichita Falls and opened the Kruger Jewelry Company. In 1924, Kruger helped Morris Zale open what became the first Zale Jewelry Store, and eventually the Zale Jewelry Corporation. The daughter of a rabbi, Fania Feldman was born in 1893 in Sevastopol and became a partisan in the political underground during the 1905 Russian revolution. The family emigrated to the United States three years later. While her husband's business prospered, Fania Kruger blossomed as a poet and social activist. Her experiences in Russia inspired her poetry and were the basis for a lifelong commitment to human rights. She published three collections of poetry, Cossack Laughter (1938), The Tenth Jew (1949), and Selected Poems (1973). She became known internationally and corresponded with a variety of writers and editors in literary circles. She knew Langston Hughes well enough to trade poems with him and to send him her homemade strudel from time to time.
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On this day in 1963, Baylor University honored W. R. (Billy) White with the position of president emeritus. White was born on a farm in Henderson County, Texas, in 1892. White was licensed to preach by the Saline Baptist Association at fourteen and was ordained just before his eighteenth birthday. He attended preparatory school at Rusk Academy before enrolling at Baylor University in the fall of 1913. Illness, however, forced White to leave Baylor, and he earned his B.A. from Howard Payne in 1917. In 1919 White enrolled at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he earned a Th.M. in 1922 and a Th.D. in 1924. After holding a number of pastoral, denominational, and educational positions, including three years as president of Hardin-Simmons University, White was elected president of Baylor University in 1948, a position he held until 1961, when he became chancellor of the university. He oversaw the postwar growth at Baylor, both physical and in student enrollment. White died in 1977.
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TODAY’S TEMPLE TRIVIA ANSWER: Bob McQueen won three district titles at Mexia High School (1964-67), including the school’s first in 16 seasons. He then was an assistant to SMU Coach Hayden Fry for three seasons before returning to Temple in 1972. The rest, as they say, is history.