On the cusp of planting time in Parmer County, Texas, the assumption that conditions are better than they were a year ago may be met with more than a bit of skepticism. This area, on the far side of the Texas Panhandle, jutting up against the New Mexico state line, remains dry.
What little rain that has fallen since the historic drought of 2011 has been rapidly wicked away by high winds. It’s dusty except where center pivot irrigation systems are running to pre-water fields in preparation for milo, corn or cotton or to try to push winter wheat far enough to at least make a decent cover crop.
Farmers say the infrequent rains received since last fall came in small doses—measured in tenths of an inch—and did little more than provide momentary hope that the drought was broken. But it hangs on.
And so do farmers.