Weekend rain does little to help local farmers in drought

September 18, 2011 8:50:35 PM PDT
It was another rainy day for parts of Texas, but the record-breaking drought season is not over with yet.

The rain this weekend was a welcome sight, encouraging for local farmers. But, within a few hours, it was hard to tell much moisture had hit the ground at the Theiss family vegetable farm in Harris County.

Typically this field would be planted with fall squash and cucumbers. Now, it's plowed and ready ? just waiting for rain.

Even the irrigation lines are in place, but they have nothing running through them.

"It wasn't enough [rain] to do much. We need some again, and again," farmer Dwayne Theiss said.

There's no grass in the pasture, so hay is being shipped in from Louisiana to feed his cattle.

"It's either feed them or sell them, and I don't want to sell them," Theiss said.

We talked with Theiss at his Klein vegetable market at the beginning of May when it was already dry.

Four months later, only two inches of rain have hit the ground.

A few miles away at another field, irrigation is the only thing keeping Theiss' squash and eggplants growing.

"I've planted this and watered it to try and get it up," he said. "If we go into winter with it this dry, it will be brutal."

With more chances of rain in this week's forecast, it could be their best hope yet.

"Rain, it's got to rain," Theiss said. "Not just for me, but all of Texas needs it."

Theiss says he laid off workers early this year. The agricultural financial impact of the drought is estimated at more than $5 billion.

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