Little rain in sight, southwest Kansas farmers struggle with the drought

Agriculture

CIMARRON, Kan. (KSNW) – Governor Laura Kelly addressed the ongoing drought issue Monday as many counties across the state are facing drier conditions than normal. 

The lack of rainfall, especially in southwest Kansas, has many farmers worried about their crops.

For dryland farmers who can’t rely on irrigation, it’s left them looking to the skies.

The soil is a good indication of the drought. Instead of it being damp and cool, many farmers have soil that holds little moisture.

The lack of rain has made the growing season difficult.

Without the rain, crops starve.

“If you don’t get anything growing on it, like when you plant it, then you’re in big trouble,” said Clark Herron, southwest Kansas farmer.

In the southwest part of the state, the drought conditions are severe.

Out of the 24 counties in the southwest region of the state, four are in a watch, eight are in a warning, and 12 are in a state of emergency.

Many of these counties have only received half of their normal rainfall since January.

“It’s just a tough game on the drylanders,” said Herron.

The lack of rain can lead to yield losses and the erosion of the topsoil can also impact future growing seasons as strong winds can strip the soil of its nutrients.

“I know I’ve been watching the maps on TV and we’re kind of getting into that cycle again so we’re always praying for rain out here in this area,” said Herron. “It can be pretty tough on you. You know you sitting here really talking to the Lord above and of course, all your neighbors are too and it either splits up and goes around you and I know a lot of southwest Kansas people have seen that actually happen.”

The conditions in the area are set to worsen throughout the week as temperatures look to climb into triple digits. 

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