Drought Hits Dairy Farmers at Stock Show

Family spends extra $50,000 to keep business afloat

The drought could force one family at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo out of business.

Dairy cows are a full-time business for the Coke family.

"We have to get up, bottle the baby calves, milk the baby calves," daughter Chelsey Coke said. "Then we go to school or whatever, come home and do it again."

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"It's just full-time. It's every day. There's no holidays," said Rodney Coke, her father.

Rodney and his wife, Meredith, run the family business based in Sulpher Springs. But because of the Texas drought, their business is in jeopardy.

"With it being hot and dry, everything went into the cattle," Meredith Coke said.

Normally the Coke family would use the grass grown on their land to produce hay for their cows to eat. But this summer it was so dry, their land was covered in dirt instead of grass.

To compensate, Rodney Coke and his wife had to spend $50,000 to ship in hay from out of state.

If this upcoming summer is anything like last summer, he said he will most likely have to sell the family business.

"Just trying to hang on, because you know you work so hard to build something, you don’t want to let it go," Rodney Coke said.

He said part of the problem is that all of Texas is so dry. Most of the hay is coming in from out of state, causing the prices to skyrocket.

"Be kind of like going out to eat every meal and paying five times the price of normal food," his wife said.

This summer, her family has one hope.

"I'm hoping for some good rain," Rodney Coke.

"You just make do," said his wife. "And do it as long as you can."

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