Drought Cutting Down Basin Crops

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN - After one of driest April's West Texas has seen, and still no rain on the horizon, the agriculture situation here in the Basin is not looking good.

"Without any rain, bleak," Midland County Agriculture Extension Agent, Zan Matthies, said.

According to Matthies, the soil that grows our crops relies on the different rainfalls and moisture we get each season.

"We count on Winter moisture and the snows and the rains that come in the Winter to provide some moisture," he said. "Kind of holds this sandy soil together and keeps it from blowing when we hit the windy Spring."

But West Texans didn't see enough moisture this past Winter and that trend is continuing. As long as it does, the fate of growing crops in the Basin is up in the air.

We're told many farmers aren't planting if there's no water to grow crops.

"Each individual grower will have to make a decision on whether they're going to move forward or not," Matthies said. "That's their personal decision, something that they'll think long and hard about."

If food's not being planted here in West Texas, that's bad news for local food banks who now have to pay more to travel out and bring that food in.

For items like fresh produce, the West Texas Food Bank is now also feeling the pain at the pump, traveling farther and farther out to find them.

"The problem is the drought goes farther," Betty Bradley, Grant Coordinator with the Food Bank, said. "It goes on up into Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado. So we're having to go farther and farther out to find resources, especially produce."

A drop in crop growth is also predicted to increase food prices, hurting the bank as well as the people they're trying to get the food out to.

The West Texas Food Bank told NewsWest 9 that if it doesn't rain, they'll become more reliant on donations than ever.

"It may get to the point where we have to ask them to look in your cupboards once again, see if you have non-perishables that you can send to the food bank," Bradley said.

Matthies told NewsWest 9 that the deadline for growing falls on the end of June.

Only time will tell what crops get planted, and when a drop of rain will quench the burnt Basin ground.