AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Despite recent rainfall, the High Plains region is still in a severe drought, which is just one more serious problem facing agriculture producers.
Oklahoma State Senator Casey Murdock (R-District 27) serves as the chair of the Senate Agriculture and Wildlife Committee and said the circumstances affecting ranchers and farmers are a perfect storm.
“What’s going on with inflation, and the supply chain issues, and then you throw the drought in on top of this, it is—it is devastating,” said Murdock.
Murdock is also a working rancher and said he is personally dealing with the drought.
He said the Oklahoma State Legislature passed a $3 million drought relief bill last spring, but it is not enough.
“That’s not even a drop in the bucket. More than likely that will go to volunteer firefighters or fire departments that are fighting these wildfires because of the drought,” Murdock said. “Because as far as the everyday farmer and rancher out there, the $3 million wouldn’t touch their losses.”
Texas State Representative Four Price (R-District 87) said while there is help at the federal level as well as through the USDA, farmers and ranchers are very concerned about day-to-day operations.
“We obviously can’t legislate rain. We can’t make it rain. However, there is certainly a lot of concern over, you know, how do we best prepare for not only the conditions today, but if these conditions continue into the future, because that’s what’s concerning,” Price said.
Price said they are beginning to plan the next statewide water plan and the legislature will work to structure legislation necessary for long-term planning to conserve water.
“It’s always tough. There’s no doubt about it, and like I said, we don’t know how long droughts will last. But if we don’t have some of the strategies employed, if we’re not preparing for the future, you know, we’ll suffer really severe consequences,” said Price.
While the region could get more much-needed rainfall through the weekend, it is not expected to break the drought.