Agriculture is a significant part of the Matagorda County economy. Our rich farming history continues today with the production of rice, sorghum, cotton, corn, and turfgrass. In addition to cattle and other livestock, Matagorda County is home to nearly 800 farms, and over 250,000 acres are dedicated agricultural production. In 2018, our local agriculture industry grossed about $297 million. This comes from crop planted acres in the county nearing 250,000 and pasture (cattle) and forage nearing 450,000. Crops by acre will vary from year to year with cotton leading the pack. The top five crops in the county are cotton, corn, grain sorghum, rice, and soybeans. New to the county in 2018/19 is Canola.

Beef Cattle Production

Beef production is an important part of the Matagorda County economy. The sale of beef cattle brings in over $73 million in 2018 to the beef producers. The majority of the beef operations in Matagorda County are cow/calf related and produce weaned feeder calves to the market with a total herd inventory of 82,000 head — 42,000 cows, 33,000 calves, and 7,000 bulls.

Row Cropping

Row crop production, including cotton, grain sorghum, corn, soybeans, rice and other specialty crops, continues to be a major economic driver in Matagorda County, accounting for about 250,000 acres of production. Although rice has been a mainstay of the Colorado, Matagorda, Jackson, and Wharton County economies since the early 1900s, a lack of profitability due mainly to water availability issues is placing financial stress on both the infrastructure and farming community. Acreage has severely declined in recent years creating negative impacts on the local economy in general. Currently, the county has about 12,000 acres of rice.

Nursery/Turf Farming

Turf accounted for $52+ million in 2018 with 65% production coming from Wharton/Matagorda for the entire state.

-Developed by Aaron Sumrall, PhD, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – Matagorda County Extension Agent – Agriculture/Natural Resources