May Rains Break West Texas Drought

Tony St. James, All Ag Network,
South Region Vice President

West Texas has been stuck in a drought for 40-plus months, reports Tony St. James (KDDD, Dumas, TX and KFLP, Floydada, TX).  Any rain across the region is usually wiped out by high winds and hot temps.  “But now we may be seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.”  Widespread rain the last week of May filled rain gauges for the first time in four years.  Some rain accumulations in the area were in excess of six inches. The rain was slow and steady and is already improving attitudes, if not the potential for crops, Tony said. “Almost every town in West Texas has reported having a municipal water supply of 180 days or less, and though the drought is a long way from being broken, there is hope.”

The rain is too late for hard red winter wheat crops that have dried up without the moisture, but will be in time for cotton, sorghum, sunflowers and corn. One producer told Tony how he had planned to cull his herd on June 1, but with the rainfall, he thinks they'll remain in business. “Make no mistake, there is a cautious optimism among producers here. But it is optimism no less.  With optimism will come cautious spending—on crop inputs and other related expenses— which will in turn start flowing (through taxes) to our local cities and counties (which have been running well under their budgets for income in 2014). A million dollar rain?  Absolutely. A billion dollar rain? Possibly. An answer to prayer?  No doubt,” he concludes.

Tony is a 32-year radio veteran who hosts Agriculture Today (on 25 stations), the Agribusiness Report (on 10 stations), and produces All Ag News on All Ag, All Day radio stations, KFLP-AM (Floydada-Lubbock, TX) and KDDD-AM(Dumas-Amarillo, TX).  He co-hosts the daily Pam & Tony Show on Texas Country station (106-1 Flip-FM), and he co-hosts West Texas Friday Night Scoreboard Show (largest high school scoreboard show in Texas with 45 affiliates) Tony is an NAFB Broadcast Council Member and serves as NAFB South Region Vice President