Cotton farmers optimistic after recent rain, working to beat insurance planting deadline

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 9:45 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The rain this week has farmers optimistic and now in a hurry to get cotton in the ground before the insurance deadline comes.

South Plains cotton farmer Thomas Kennedy said it’s an answer to a farmer’s prayer.

“A lot of prayers,” Kennedy said. “It’s a saving grace and it’s got a little pep in all our steps.”

Kennedy said he has been waiting for this rain for a long time.

“To see it on the radar and see that little wall coming through like it has back in the old days, it’s a great feeling and it’s one that brings back memories because it seems like it’s been a long time since we’ve been that way,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy grew up on the farm and got more involved over 10 years. He said last season was the worst he has seen for his family.

“Last year we did not have any cotton at all,” Kennedy said.

Before the rain, Kennedy said there were a lot of questions like where to plant, what to plant and concerns about whether a producer would even be able to make a crop. The rain helped answer some of those questions and gave farmers a plan.

“Now, we can see we got enough moisture, we can get this thing started and hope that down the road we get another rain, and we can get back into what we’re used to as far as weather patterns in this area,” Kennedy said.

While it was just what farmers needed, Kennedy said they still need a steady rain throughout the season.

“We’re not needing an inch rain we’re needing a six-inch rain,” Kennedy said. “So, if we’re having this little pattern of three-quarter of an inch to an inch maybe even two-inches types rain. If it comes with storms that’s just what we’re going to have to deal with.”

Kennedy said he’s cautiously optimistic that things are looking brighter for producers. Now, it’s the hurry to get seed in the ground before the insurance deadline is here.

“Once it’s dry, we’re going to be going sunup to sundown trying to get it all in in time,” Kennedy said.

The insurance deadline is coming up. Texas Farm Bureau State Director Walt Hagood said that for Hale, Lubbock and Hockley counties the deadline is June 5.

Dawson and Lynn County farmers have until June 10. After that, farmers have seven days of late planting before losing 50% of their coverage.