Despite the proximity to the Houston metro area and lands becoming more and more fragmented into smaller parcels, agriculture continues to be very important in Austin County and a major source of economic stability. Climatic conditions and good soils make the county ideal for growing a variety of crops and livestock species. The area was once known for its cotton production in the early half of the twentieth century and gradually transitioned into an area more conducive for the production of livestock following the second world war and is a trend that continues to this day.
Beef cattle is the number one agricultural commodity produced in the county, with an estimated 40,000 brood cows. Hay and forages make up the number two agricultural commodity grown and sold by producers, as an estimated 37,500 acres are currently grown for hay production. Other commodities grown in the county include Corn, Cotton, Grain Sorghum, Rice, Melons, Pecans, Wine Grapes and other specialty crops. Other livestock species are also produced in the county, such as Horses, Pure Bred Seed Stock Cattle, Sheep, Goats, Swine, Exotic Wildlife and others. The total estimated agricultural income is $88 million.
For questions or answers related to Agriculture, please contact:
County Extension Agent for Ag and Natural Resources
Philip Shackelford has served as County Extension Agent with the Texas A & M AgriLife Extension Service since 1993. He has served as the Ag Agent in Austin County since the year 2000. Philip takes a unique and innovative approach to programming that allows him to reach a diverse audience of both seasoned clientele and newcomers of all ages. He works closely with his program area committees to design and implement timely programming on new landowner education, beef cattle and forage production, home horticulture, master volunteer programs and 4-H and youth development.
He serves as a leader in his church teaching children’s Sunday School and in various civic organizations such as the Lions Club and Little League. He has served as a TCAAA Director, Representative to Ag Workers Auto Insurance, Texas 4-H Foundation Board of Directors, Site Coordinator for Operation No Fences and has currently received his PhD from Texas A&M University. He also holds a Masters and Bachelors Degree from Tarleton State University. Philip conducts himself with the utmost integrity and treats everyone with fairness and respect.