Local News

Sep 16, 2013 3:22 PM by Sara Donchey

Rainfall a Help and Hinderance for Local Cotton Farmers

SINTON -- Cotton farmers in San Patricio County say they're still reeling from this season's drought.

Bobby McCool, San Patricio County's Extension Agent explained that production just isn't where it should be.

"Normally, there's 200,000 bales of cotton produced...this year it might be only 20,000."

But ironically, the thing farmers had been praying for all year--rain--also takes its toll on certain crops.

Erich Schneider's cotton crop was planted significantly later in the season than usual as a result of the drought.

But now that it's raining, his harvest is at a stand still.

"It's a little frustrating," Schneider said. "Everybody says 'I'm glad to see the rain.' I'm glad to see it too, but I'd like for it to wait a week."

The more rain falls on Erich's cotton, the more the quality of the crop is comprimised.

And of course, as the quality declines, so does the profitability.

But even though the recent rain may have hurt this year's cotton crop, farmers say it's the payout for next year that makes it well worth it.

Clarence Chopelas is a third-generation farmer in San Patricio County.

And when it comes to rain, Clarence has a simple business equation.

"In South Texas, whenever we have water--moisture--that gets down underground we call that money in the bank."

Bobby Nedbalek, who also farms cotton and grain in Sinton and Mathis, says the gamble farmers take on weather is just part of the business.

"We are as good as mother nature lets us be," Nedbalek said. "So when it rains, we can do a lot of things. When it's dry, it's a slow death."

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