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Need for rain intensifies for farmers as crops begin to sprout

Need for rain intensifies for farmers as crops begin to sprout
Posted at 8:59 PM, Apr 06, 2022

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Andrew Edelen grew up on a farm outside of Alice that's seen transformations throughout the years.

Since returning home from serving in the Marine Corps two and a half years ago, Edelen has been operating Edelen Farms to supply crops — and livestock for meat — that he can sell at farmers markets.

The small scale operation comes with an advantage over large industrial farms — he can water his crops. But even with an irrigation system, the current drought is making his job difficult.

"We’ve got to go out and water by hand a couple of times during the day," Edelen said. "The irrigation just can’t keep up. The sun dries it out so quickly.”

It's a problem the big guys are facing as well.

In Nueces County, the local agriculture agent says almost all of the corn and sorghum crops have been planted and are sprouting.

And when it comes to cotton, most of it has been planted too. But whether or not the three most farmed crops in the county make it to harvest is up to Mother Nature.

"Most of (the cotton seed) is going in dry at this time," Nueces County Extension Agent of Agriculture and Natural Sciences Jaime Lopez said. "Crops that are in are up, and as long as we can get rain here within the next month, we should be OK."

Lopez said crops need an inch of rain in the near future and then more rounds of it during the growing season.

Without it, the crops could fail.

Farmers have insurance to protect them when that happens, but current economic factors may leave them far from financially whole.

"With the prices of fertilizer, prices of fuel, prices of seed — everything going up, it will probably only cover — at best — some of your input costs,” Lopez said.

Edelen will continue to try and keep up with his crops' demand for water as the warm, dry spring turns into a hot, arid summer.

In hopes of getting some relief, he encourages everyone to appeal to a higher power.

“Just pray for rain," Edelen said. "That’s all we can do."

For information on the City of Corpus Christi's water system and further conservation tips, click here.