Farmers and Ranchers Cautiously Optimistic

Texoma farmers and ranchers are cautious about the future.

The 2012 Wichita Falls Ranch and Farm Expo kicked off on Wednesday. At the event, Hardeman County rancher Don Walser told Newschannel 6, "My outlook right now, without rain, is terrible."

Last year's drought is still fresh on the minds of ranchers and farmers in Texoma. The reminder is also harsh on their wallets.

Walser said he is giving himself a deadline. On Saturday, March 10, he's moving his cattle to a new pasture. "And that's it. After that, when they run out of that, then we gotta start selling."

Other ranchers said they have been fortunate, but are scared about what's in store in the coming months.

"I'm raising about 40 miniature horses and right now, we're in good shape. But, what we're gonna do during the summer, we don't know yet," said Preston Giles. Giles is a retired grocer and raises exotic animals.

The burden of inflated operation costs caused by the drought, have Texoma's farmers and ranchers concerned.

Giles said, "We don't know what this summer's gonna be. So, we don't know whether to plant or not plant the grass and $10 per pound on that seed, it doesn't go very far."

Other ranchers and industry professionals told Newschannel 6 now is the best time to grow and look to a bright future.

Wichita Falls Farm and Ranch Expo Manager Darren Dale said, "It's a real fun and optimistic time for the producers out there - especially for Texoma."

There is no way to predict what will happen in the future. Until then, some of Texoma's farmers and ranchers will have to dig deep inside their wallets in order to survive.

Some will be forced to abandon their livelihood, while others hope for the best. "Hopin' for better. That's all we can do. Just hope for that and wait 'til the good Lord send us some more rain," said Giles.

Brittany Glas, Newschannel 6