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'Hurting everybody' | Aldine ISD FFA students, teacher hoping for rain as feed, hay costs rise

Extreme heat and dry conditions have nearly doubled the price of hay and feed for animals.

HOUSTON — Continued drought conditions are putting a strain on FFA programs. Aldine ISD said students in their program are having to pay more out of pocket this year to cover the cost of raising an animal.

Abagail Flores, a senior at MacArthur High School bought her 8-month-old steer, Oakley, this summer.

“Oakley was $1,500," Flores said.

The price tag on Oakley comes with hefty costs for a 17-year-old.

"I mean, yeah, because right now we’re going to get the big barrel and that means the hay goes up, the feed goes up and I go all the way to Conroe to get my feed so having to pay for the gas money and everything,” Flores said.

Extreme heat and dry conditions have nearly doubled the price of the hay and feed it will take to keep her steer in top condition.

Dexter Arkadie, Ag Teacher at MacArthur, said it’s an issue affecting FFA programs across the state.

"Normally $50, $60 a roll, double that if you can find it," Arkadie said about the price of hay.

The district’s FFA program is trying to raise money for college scholarships.  

Arkadie said this year they’re encouraging students to raise smaller animals that are less expensive for upkeep. They're also pushing the idea of getting a sponsor.

"What we do, we ask the student -- each student -- to get a sponsor. That sponsor could be an individual that will help pay for the animal or help buy feed," Arkadie said.

Arkadie said they’re also hoping for more rain.

“It's definitely hurting everybody, it's hurting everybody. We pray for rain,” He said.

He also stressed that those in the agriculture business are designed to face challenges.

"Other than the kids making money with the animals, that’s the ultimately the goal we teach them: responsibility,” He said.

Flores said it’s a token of knowledge she hopes will lead to a bigger reward.

“I’m hoping that he wins and I get money for college to go without worrying about it so much," she said.

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