Drought Affecting Valley Farmers in Planting Season

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WESLACO – The Rio Grande Valley is in planting season and with each one, local farmers say, comes a different challenge.

This time around, they need rain and fast.

Raymondville Cotton Farmer Spence Pennington says only a finger length of soil depth is needed plant a cotton seed.

He says, for now, he is forced to go half a foot deep for a shot to hit moist soil.

Pure dry land is the only way he and others describe the soil these days.

Pennington says planting would normally be done by now but that’s not the case.

“We haven't had our average rainfall in certain areas over the past two years. In one area, we're over 10 inches behind just for one year,” he explains.

Dale Murden, president of Texas Citrus Mutual, says he copes with the drought a little better at his citrus farms.

“I feel for those guys in the dry land area that don't have the ability to irrigate,” he says.

The deadline for planting cotton is early April.

Pennington says he hopes for rain to come before then or he will have to plant dry and keep fingers crossed.

“You try not to let it affect you because you'd never sleep,” he tells us.

Both farmers say moisture is normally built up in the fall and winter months. This year, that did not happen.

Now, farmers could have less of a crop. At worst, they will have no crop at all, which means no money.


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