BROWNFIELD, Texas– The fast few months without rain has taken a toll on farmers. The deadline that farmers have to get seeds in the ground in Terry County is June 5. Peanut Farmer Mason Becker said that the lack of rain in the last few months has left a big chunk of his property dryland unusable for planting.
“We’ve had to irrigate. And we’ve had to wait on pivots to come around once, twice, three times,” Becker said. “It sets everything back, and it really just kind of puts us in a bind right waiting on Mother Nature.”
Becker said the last time he remembers getting a good rain was about six months ago. He’s always had to spend time and money watering around a thousand acres of land. Farmer Kevin Gamez said that it runs a high risk of its own.
“This year, it’s been bad because we never really have to start our water to break like we’re doing right now flipping the ground over for next year,” Gamez said. “That’s going to be even worse than it was to begin with, because now we’re using our wells, instead of saving our water for when we need it the most.”
Becker said along with having to tap into their water supply, they’ve also had to spend the last few weeks trying to find other ways to prepare the soil.
“There’s been spots around some circles where I’ve cut stocks and tried to run a field cultivator and get ahead a little bit, but it ends up blowing worse and then sand starts piling up and blowing out circles,” Becker said. It just creates a mess.”
While farmers pray for rain, Texas State Senator Charles Perry said more could be done on the state level to prepare for these dryer seasons.
“You’ve seen the dirt in the dust, and it’s partly because we had dryland coming in,” Perry said. “We had rains a year ago, two years ago, so we didn’t see it. But our water supply is about 95% dependent on rain. As a state guy for water, My job is to push the narrative for more water supply. And what does that mean? You can decel brackish water, you can decel produced water now that will fail which currently there’s a big study at Texas Tech ongoing that I drafted the legislation for as to how to take advantage of water that comes up.”