Despite Drought, Wet Weather Taking A Toll On Texas Farmers & Crops

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NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – The recent ice and snow storms and rains — not the drought — have kept farmer John Paul Dineen from planting his largest cash crop: corn.

Dineen will readily admit, his fields are a mess filled with weeds and mud. “This is what no producer ever wants to show you. It’s embarrassing to have a field look like this, but there’s nothing we can do about it.”

On the Waxahachie farm he and his wife Heather have owned for eight years now, he points to his large parked corn planter. “We’re all dressed up and ready to go to the dance. We’re just waiting.”

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Dineen says he’s waiting for the rain to stop long enough to let his soggy, muddy fields dry up so he can start planting. He says if he took his planter out on the fields now, they would turn even muddier, and the planter would get stuck.

“You don’t want to tear up your field you spent six months to get it in shape and ready to run this planter.”

Sees should be in the ground by late spring and Dineen had hoped to plant corn March 1, now he’s praying he’ll be able to by mid-April. “We’re running out of time,” he said.

Roger Hall is he area coordinator of field operations with the Texas Farm Bureau. He covers a seven-county area in North Texas, which has as many as 4,000 production farmers. He says, “Dallas County, Ellis County, Johnson County… they’re all struggling to get into the fields right now.”

According to Hall, while the weather may not have a major impact on consumers at the grocery store, it will likely cost farmers dearly. “Some of the rural farms and ranchers, it is concerning, it’s a big deal. This is their livelihood, this is what they do, and so it could be make or break this year.”

The tough season gives Dineen, a first generation farmer, and his family, a time for reflection. “God has blessed us to be able to do this, and he’s always taken care of us in the past, but it is concerning when you aren’t able to pencil out that it’s going to be there at the end of the season.” He says this is one of the toughest growing seasons he’s had during his 21 years as a farmer.

Dineen has $40,000 in corn seed on order that he hasn’t had delivered. If he can’t plant corn this season, he says he hopes to plant another crop.

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