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Cotton crop crisis hitting Texoma farmers
Texoma farmers are facing a grim outlook on the future of cotton crops due to scorching temperatures and a lack of rain. Terry McAlister, a local cotton farmer from Electra, is coping with another disastrous cotton season. McAlister is going as far as calling this year's cotton crop an economic failure. During the summer of 2011, McAlister says the crop never came up. The seeds laid in the dirt and never germinated. However, small amounts of rain this year has helped the crop but the it is still struggling. "At least we did get the seeds germinated and we do have some crop up," McAlister says. McAlister adds, "We have never seen these drought conditions in my lifetime." He says hope is running out to salvage this year's crop. "Not optimistic at all," McAlister says. "This looks like last year over again. It's the same situation." According to McAlister, cotton crops are expected to be at least two feet tall, covered in yellow and pink blooms this time of year but the plant is just not there. Even though the crop is insured, he says resources are being wasted in trying to save the cotton. McAlister says, "In a crop like this, we are still out here spending dollars as we go along and plus what little bit of soil mositure there is in the soil; we are wasting that into something that isn't going to make a crop at all." About half a crop is expected to be produced when it comes time to harvest. McAlister hopes to break even this year with a small harvest and looks forward to "the big one" next year. "There is not much we can do. We'll just try and ride this out and collect our insurance. Farmers are historic for saying 'Next year will be better.' We'll try again." Crop insurnance agent Cathy Fowler says they will head into cotton farms like Mcalister's in September to appraise this year's crop. Fowler says the insurance payout will not be affected. The only expenses that will not be covered are those the farmers put in to maintain the crop.