LUBBOCK, Texas – This year’s drought has proven to be extremely challenging for cotton farmers in Texas. Multiple farm reports saying this harvest has been one of the worst, costing the state up to $2 billion.

Lubbock crop insurance agent Joey Brown insures around 100 farmers across the panhandle. He said that in Texas this year, 7.7 million acres of cotton were planted. In this region alone, 4.7 million acres were planted, and about 2.7 million failed.

Cotton had to be in the ground by June 5 for farmers in Lubbock County to be covered by the insurance. Brown said his clients did a very good job of meeting that deadline, however the insurance can only cover so much.

“It resulted in a lot of early season losses because a lot of cotton did not come up,” he explained.

Cotton in the fields across the panhandle may look like they’re doing great, with green leaves and cotton starting to show. However, Steven Brosch out of Slaton, who farms the crop, said it has absolutely no time to reproduce. Much of the green plants will have to be destroyed instead of harvested.

On average, only one third of what was produced last year has so far made it to harvest. Shawn Wade with Plains Cotton Growers said that while this has been a very difficult season, they look forward to producing the crop next year.

“Most people don’t realize how much the economy relies on agriculture here,” Brosch said. “Let’s start focusing on next year, kind of see what we can do. We have to keep looking forward.”