The relatively minimal crop losses can be attributed to a flood-control system that worked, according to Dr. Ruben Saldana, a Texas AgriLife Extension Service administrator in Weslaco.

“Agriculture, and the entire Rio Grande Valley would have suffered Katrina-like flooding and losses had it not been for our levee system that had been recently shored up to withstand such waters,” Saldana said.

“And they were reinforced thanks to efforts by local officials and in Washington D.C. by our U.S congressman, Ruben Hinojosa, who insisted on combining a shored-up levee system with another project that was not very popular down here, the border wall.”

Saldana said Hinojosa’s efforts were politically risky, but the payoff was almost immediate.

“Had those levees not been reinforced, the only industry, the only people working right now would have been those digging us out of the massive flood that would have engulfed this entire area."

Despite a shortage of rainfall since, reservoir levels are high, irrigation water is plentiful and commodity prices are on the rise, Ribera said.

“Because of increased demand and low production in foreign countries due to weather problems, market prices for crops grown in the Rio Grande Valley are on an upswing and, barring any surprises from Mother Nature, 2011 should be a good year for our growers,” he said.