Cotton Farmer Races Against Clock to Plant Seed - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/20/05

Cotton Farmer Races Against Clock to Plant Seed

The sunny weather the last several days has been a God-send for the kick off to cotton season. For most farmers, the severe weather came just in time to miss damaging the new crop. But NewsChannel 11 met one farmer that is on deadline to clean up the storm's mess.

Lubbock cotton farmers have until June 5th to plant their entire crop in order to get insurance. The sunny weather has sped the planting process, but with a new vulnerable crop, farmers are crossing their fingers that the tornadoes and hail have made their last appearance for the season.

On Friday morning, the town of Ralls awoke to the warmth of the sun and the sounds of the birds, but just one week ago the town discovered mother nature's fury when two tornadoes hit down outside of Ralls.

The Ralls Police Chief said, "It was very frightening, we ran the sirens, and we were hoping everyone had plenty of time to get shelter." Thankfully for Ralls police and the community, the disaster never hit town, but the same could not be said for everyone.

"What a mess." Larry Ashley, a cotton farmer, is racing against the clock to clean up the tornado debris from the field, and get the cotton in the ground. "We're in a time frame here, got to get it in by the 25th, but we were fortunate to get the rain."

Farmers with Plains Cotton Growers say last week's rain was well received, and the warm sunny days to follow were even a greater gift. Shawn Wade from the agency said, "We did get beneficial rain, and now, well over 50% of our 3.7 million acres has been planted in the last six days."

Shawn says this is always an exciting time of year, because cotton farmers get a fresh start and a fresh crop. Even Larry is optimistic about swapping debris for cotton seed. "Get it cleaned up and start again."

Just to give you an idea of how important the weather is to farmers, when we asked how many times a day a farmer watches the weather, the Plains Cotton Growers told us they check the weather at least three times a day.

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