North Texas Braces for More Drought in 2015 March 13 2015
The recent rain, sleet and snow may have been a step in the right direction, but North Texas farmers say they’re still bracing for another year of drought conditions.
The United States Drought Monitor reports the Metroplex and surrounding counties are still in the severe to exceptional drought range as of March 9.
Local lakes, including Ray Roberts and Lewisville, also remain about seven feet below their normal levels; a slight improvement over this point last year.
Denton farmer Tommy Calvert said he’s pleased to start the season on a wet note with some of his fields, even experiencing standing water after the recent storms. He’s been able to start plowing with much success and hopes to be on track to plant on time, but he urges people not to be tricked by the current state of things.
"It's very deceptive here,” said Calvert. “This is basically water run-off from snow pack and ice."
His grounds are absorbing that moisture, but he said unless it continues at a good pace things will likely be dry again soon.
As the leader of the Denton County Farm Bureau, Calvert sees the repercussions of a continued drought beyond his land.
So far, many North Texas communities are keeping watering restrictions in place ahead of the spring and summer seasons. Calvert also expects beef and other food prices to continue to rise this year and for at least a little longer.
"They're predicting for another couple of years only because the herd rebuilding is going to be so slow,” he said.
Still, once conditions improve there is going to be a lot of damage from years of drought that will have to slowly undo themselves like smaller cattle herds.
So what will that take? That’s a tough call to make.
Calvert said a giant rainfall would make for some happy days, but that wouldn’t sustain the drought in the long term.
"We need everything to come together at the right times really,” he said.
That means farmers are hoping for consistent rain over the coming spring months of March, April and May. Calvert said that could make for a strong start heading into the hot summer months and maybe even conditions getting overall better.
As for an end to the drought though, Calvert isn’t expecting that happy news to come, at least not for a bit longer.