This year's state cotton crop could be the worst ever. That's the prediction Texas agriculture officials are making after estimating crop losses to be $4.1 billion dollars.
Roger Haldenby, Vice President of Operations for Plains Cotton Growers says, "I've been in West Texas for 26-years and I haven't seen any quite like this before. Since October of last year til late February or March, there was no rainfall and very little since then."
Haldenby says the drought, high temperatures and wind have left non-irrigated cotton in extremely poor condition. He says farmers are trying to plant alternate crops but adds it's really too dry to grow anything.
Lubbock and surrounding counties are now eligible for emergency crop insurance. Haldenby says the news is bleak for an area that has experienced back to back record crops for the last two years. Haldenby adds, "Not only have farmers gotten accustomed to having high levels of production but the Lubbock economy has benefited from having huge crops back to back. Things aren't looking too bright for 2006."
Haldenby does say that farmers with irrigated cotton could still benefit from some rain.