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Eat Up While You Can, Texas

Just kidding: Wrapped around this issue is our 2011 Best of Dallas® edition, in which we take a lighthearted look at predictions that the end of the world is near.

Man, we hope those jokes don't come back to bite us in the ass.

We say this because Texas AgriLife Extension Service economists recently estimated that rainless Texas faces $5.2 billion in agricultural losses, making the state's ongoing drought the most costly on record. Now, $5.2 billion is just a tiny fraction of Texas' gross state product — about $1.11 trillion last year — but it's a substantial chunk of money, particularly for farming-dependent counties. "A whole bunch of ripple effects are felt in those communities," Dr. David Anderson, a livestock economist with the extension service, told Buzz. Workers who counted on jobs at Panhandle cotton gins might be left without work because there's no cotton to gin. Tractor dealers, fertilizer sellers, all sorts of retailers will feel the pinch.

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"I think everybody around here will be affected to some degree," says Dalinda Davis, chairwoman of the board for the Chamber of Commerce in Burleson County, southeast of Dallas. "Even the farmers around here are having to get hay in from Louisiana. They're doing what they can to save their stock."

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It's hard times, and one of the grimmer parts of being a card-carrying libtard is that we read eclectic, depressing stuff 'cause we like to worry. For instance, Buzz recently heard a news story — on NPR, natch — about rising food prices worldwide, then went home and started reading reports from the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization. (We gotta get a life.) The FAO reports wiped the end-of-days smirk right off our mug. Colorful charts show the world supply of cereal grains barely pacing demand, and FAO's food price index is stuck solidly in record ranges, which means growing hunger and malnutrition across the globe.

Down in Burleson County, meanwhile, they've already had two official days of prayer for rain this year, Davis says. The county is ready for its annual fair this week, a time when kids in 4-H and Future Farmers of America hope to sell their prize-winning stock, maybe setting aside money for college.

Here's hoping the kids get good prices. If the apocalypse does become imminent, instead of college they could always use the money for a weekend getaway to Big D. We can recommend a ton of good places — assuming we're still here.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

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