West Texas drought threatens crops, Lubbock economy

Updated: May. 14, 2018 at 8:42 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - While there is a chance for rain in our future, experts with the Texas Tech School of Agriculture say we need a couple of substantial showers to get us out of this drought and into a good growing season.

If we don't get some relief soon, it won't just affect our farmers, it will affect our larger local economy.

Darren Hudson, Director of International Center for Agriculture Competitiveness at Texas Tech University, says our weather patterns are starting to look like we could face a repeat of the 2011 drought. In 2011, Lubbock broke the record for worst drought since 1917 with around five inches of rain for the whole year. Our average yearly rainfall is 18.69 inches.

The lack of rain we are facing now is creating a gamble for farmers that could lead to mass loss of crops in the future.

"Some producers have already begun planning to get a crop up," Hudson said. "Some producers are still waiting to see if there is enough rain to see if it is worth it to get a crop going, so we are at a critical junction right now."

This drought will not only affect agriculture producers, but local businesses as well. Jackie Cruse is the owner of J. Cruse Christmas Gallery located at 4815 50th Street in Lubbock. He is extremely concerned for what might come.

"If you're a businessman, one of the major things in business is to know your demographic. If you're in a demographic where most of the economy is cotton farming and agriculture you better be concerned," Cruse said.

With no rain, the Texas Agriculture group loses and so will Lubbock.

"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."

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