'Total loss': Farmers hope for better harvest year after one of the worst droughts in Texas

Erica Simon Image
Friday, March 31, 2023
Will this year be better for farmers and include more rainfall?
Besides 1986, when there was no rain for 120 days, two Texas farmers say 2022 was one of their worst years. Here's how they are rebounding from last year's horrific drought.

PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas (KTRK) -- As spring rolls on and things are in bloom, we're looking at planting season, crops, and how local farmers are rebounding from 2022's horrific drought. Will this year be better and include more rainfall? ABC13 went to Waller County to find out.

In July 2022, we introduced you to Robert Poole and Reverend Fletcher Williams in Prairie View.

At the time, they expected to lose 90% of their corn crop due to insufficient rain. It turned out to be worse than that.

"Total loss. We didn't get a chance to run a combine - grain combine in the field to harvest any corn," Poole explained.

SEE PREVIOUS REPORT: Drought having big impact on crops and farmers in Waller County

Needless to say, no harvest equaled no return or money for their efforts. Besides 1986, when there was no rain for 120 days, the pair says 2022 is up there as one of their worst years.

"Some things just don't work together. We can't get it together," Williams said.

Dr. Ali Fares, endowed professor in Prairie View A&M's College of Agriculture and Human Sciences, says the farmers are spot on. Last year was bad.

"For the last 22 years, it's one of the driest year on record," Fares said.

There are signs of progress. A look at the drought index in Texas in March 2022 shows way more red on the map than for March 2023.

So far this month, corn planting across the state reached 52%, up 2% from the previous year.

RELATED: Texas agriculture agency says climate change threatens state's food supply

"It looks like the conditions are slightly better. We are optimistic," Fares said.

Poole and Fletcher say they are hopeful too. After all, that's all a farmer can be.

"You got to like it. You got to love it because a lot of time it's not a whole lot of money that you make, but you have to love what you're doing," Poole said.

Poole and Fletcher planned to have corn in the ground at the beginning of this month, but since they clearly missed it, their new deadline is April 15, and we're rooting for them.

Prairie View A&M is doing its part to help with research and coming up with agriculture and water solutions. For the first time, starting in the fall, the school is offering a new master's program in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences.

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