Agricultural Producers and Ranchers across Texoma have some data to back-up what they already know: The drought is bad. The US Drought Monitor released new data this week that ranks all of Texoma in the D3 or Extreme Drought category and most of Wilbarger County in the worst-case D4 Exceptional Drought category.
Friday's winds blew the top soil from sandy areas into the sky, causing driving hazards and making the power lines howl. The dusty breeze highlights exactly what farmers like Michael White have been dealing with for months. "Any moisture we do get right now evaporates because of the heat," he said.
White runs cattle and raises wheat and cotton on his dry land (non-irrigated) property south of Vernon. His wheat has fared just a poorly as many other area producers. His immediate concerns have been with his livestock. "We've run out of water on a lot of our stock ponds we've had to move a lot of cattle as far as that goes."
The effort has been to move the cattle around so they can eat what little food the ground offers. "Without the rain and without the moisture our pastures are not growing any green grass at all… We're lacking in deep moisture we didn't get any Fall rains like we needed to, like we usually do to get that deep moisture."
While the cattle and the grains suffer, so too does the outlook for Cotton. The market for the fiber is at an extreme high, and those that are able to produce stand to make record profits. However, producers need to grow the crop before they can sell it. "Right now, the prospects of a cotton crop doesn't look very good its a shame because you know we've got such good high prices to reap from right now. We're just really dry."