In Press: South Plains' producers brace again for drawn-out drought
By: Norman Martin
Recently, an internationally-recognized agricultural economist with Texas Tech University was interviewed by Amanda Ruiz, a reporter with KCBD, a NBC-affiliated television station licensed in Lubbock. Here's a part of the conversation.
While there's a chance for rain in the near future, an expert with Texas Tech University's Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics says the South Plains needs substantial showers to get out of rising drought conditions and into a good growing season. If area producers don't get some relief soon it won't just affect farmers, it will affect the larger local economy.
Weather patterns are starting to look like the region could face a repeat of a 2011 drought, said Darren Hudson, Larry Combest Endowed Chair for Agricultural Competitiveness and an agricultural and applied economics professor at Texas Tech University. In 2011, Lubbock broke a record for worst drought since 1917, with about five inches of rain for the entire year. Average yearly rainfall is 18.6 inches.
Lack of rain creates a gamble for farmers that could lead to massive crop losses in the future. "Some producers have already begun planning to get a crop up," Hudson said. "Some are still waiting to see if there's enough rain to see if it is worth it to get a crop going. We are at a critical junction right now."
A long-term drought would not only affect agriculture producers, but local businesses as well. "Those outlying towns are impacted pretty heavily, but that impacts people inside of Lubbock as well," Hudson said. "We don't think about it, but if you're running a car dealership or you're a sales person at Dillard's, so many people are impacted by agriculture that as their income slows in flow it really makes a difference."
CONTACT: Darren Hudson, Professor and Larry Combest Chair, Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics, College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 834- 0546 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Editor: Norman Martin
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