Despite rain Tuesday night, region is still gripped by drought

Despite rain Tuesday night, region is still gripped by drought

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The rain received Tuesday night is not enough to bust the drought gripping the South Plains.

"It's becoming such a bad thing that even the weeds don't want to grow right now," said Justin Light, a cotton farmer in Idalou, Texas.

Light has been farming his land  for years. This is not the first time he has seen adverse conditions.

"There's always a challenge, there's a challenge in everything," he said. "We had challenges last year with it being too wet and not being able to get things planted before the insurance deadline."

This year it is a different story. He can get seed in the ground however there is a chance it will not grow. 

"Dry land is pretty bleak. If you have irrigation, it's not going to be that bad of a deal, it's still going to be a bad deal, you're just going to have to water some up with your pivots and keep the water going with your drip but dry land there's no chance."

He mostly farms dry land so he will likely have to rely on crop insurance this year, meaning his budget is going to be tight this next year.

"It's adapt or die is basically what it is. You try and look for whatever it is that you can do to save that extra dollar or to save that tank of diesel."

If this drought persists it is not just producers that will be struggling.

"If we do have a crop that's not as productive this year, we're certainly going to see the impacts of that in Lubbock," said Mary Jane Buerkle, Director of Communications for Plains Cotton Growers. "It is felt even more in our surrounding communities who depend even more heavily on agriculture."

She said the numbers  really paint the picture. 

"On average, about a 3.5 million bale crop, which if you look at our 10 year average is about what it is," she said. "If you consider the economic activity that that generates, that's about 1 billion dollars per year with a B and that's just at the farm level. That's not even applying any kind of economic multiplier which generally accepted is about three and a half."

Those billions touch nearly every level of the economy.

"The billions of dollars that it impacts through our economy on a regular basis flows through many cycles whether it be car dealerships, whether it be on groceries or  anything else so it's a huge impact obviously," said Eddie McBride, CEO of Lubbock Chamber of  Commerce. 

While the economic impact is bleak for 2018-19 in regards to agriculture, Light said the only forecast he is look at is the one dealing with the skies.

"I look at that thing once, twice a day just to see, but yeah you're always looking at forecasts and hoping and praying that the rain they put a week out is actually going to take," Light said.

The region is supposed to receive more scattered thunder showers over the next week. 

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