South Plains cotton farmers feel the effects of recent severe weather - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/1/09

South Plains cotton farmers feel the effects of recent severe weather

By Brittany Pieper - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The severe weather we've seen lately took its toll on some area cotton farmers. Some farmers replanted their fields with Milo.  They say it's not as profitable, but at least it's something.

"It's been probably as hard as I've seen in several, several years," said cotton farmer, Don Langston. 

"Right now we're keeping our fingers crossed that we have a better start and a better chance to produce a better than average crop for this year," said Steve Verett, the executive vice president at Plains Cotton Growers, Inc.

Depending on who you talk to, you'll hear different things about how the weather affected this year's cotton crop.

Langston started farming cotton more than 50 years ago, and he says this is one of his worst years yet. "It was so dry, and then when we started getting a little rain we'd just get storms and outflow boundaries that would blow. We've lost cotton from sand burning it, and then we've had two hail storms," he said. 

Verett says other farmers on the South Plains barely saw the effects of severe weather. "One side of a turn road, a county road, beautiful dry land cotton that emerged, and on the other side nothing," said Verett.

Those farmers who got hit, were hit hard. Langston estimates he'll make about half what he would in a good year.  Farmers like Langston will get some money back on their crops because of insurance, but Jackie Smith with the Texas A&M extension office in Lubbock says the loss affects more than just the farmers. It trickles down to those who store and haul the crops all the way to activity at the mall. Smith estimates this year's cotton loss will cost the South Plains economy about $300 million.    

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Check out exclusive, un-cut video from the storms that marched their way across the South Plains.

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