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 more Ag & Natural Resource questions, please contact:
County Extension Agent for Agriculture & Natural Resources
Stacie Villarreal is currently the Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent for Austin County with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. She has served in this role since December 2020. Before transferring to Austin County, she held the same position in Waller County for 5 years and worked closely with the 4-H program there. Stacie grew up in the 4-H and FFA programs and showed registered Limousin heifers, steers, lambs, and market and breeding swine. She competed on numerous LDE and CDE teams during her FFA career including the National Champion Meat Judging team and held numerous offices in 4-H and FFA. Stacie graduated from Texas A&M University-Kingsville with a Bachelor’s and then a Master’s in Range and Wildlife Management. She currently works with her program area committees on educational programs, ranging from beef and forage to viticulture and horticulture. She has a large group of Master Volunteers she works closely with as well. Stacie is one of the 4-H Shotgun coaches for Austin County 4-H and has also been working to bring the Egg to Chick program to West End Elementary- so Kindergarten to 5th-grade students will have the opportunity to learn more about the life cycle.