Farmers Scramble to Protect Animals, Crops in Freezing Temps

By: Vanessa Nguyen
By: Vanessa Nguyen

Panhandle farmers and ranchers are scrambling to protect their crops and livestock from the hard freeze, loading up the animals with extra food and water. Protecting the livestock is the main focus this time of year.

It's feeding time Monday morning for these 100 cows.

"We typically feed them five days a week and we give them a full pound of protein supplement with a good bit of fat in the protein," said Mack Glass, cattle and Satsuma farmer.

But with the extreme cold weather approaching, Glass will be supplying them with more to eat.

"We make sure they have free choice hay during the real cold days."

And more to drink.

"One of our first chores in the morning will be to come break the ice on the water troughs."

Animals aren't the only agricultural concern Glass has to consider. He'll also be up most of the night protecting his 600 Satsuma trees.

"We have our emitter elevated to about five feet in the tree so that we save the scaffle limbs and the trunk," he said.

The harvest season is now over and icicles already cover the base of many of his trees.

"They generate heat by creating ice."

Satsumas actually benefit from limited exposure to cold weather, but too much can be detrimental.

"The Satsumas, if it gets below 28 degrees for more than four hours, they start to get damaged," said Jackson County Extension Director Doug Mayo.

Since most of their traditional crops have been harvested, Mayo says the main emphasis will be on protecting animals.

"Just monitoring animals because anytime it's this cold, it really stresses the animals so there's a higher chance of getting sick," he said.

But for Glass, he says it's just another day on the farm.

Agriculture officials also suggest letting your dogs or cats sleep indoors until the cold freeze passes.

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