POSTED: Monday, October 3, 2011 - 6:21pm
UPDATED: Monday, October 3, 2011 - 7:06pm
By all accounts, this summer and the drought we are facing will go down in the record books, a summer that Texas farmers and ranchers will long remember.
But we’ve been here before and some say, this one may be even worse.
From 1949 to 1957, Texas and the southwest faced a similar situation. Rain simply disappeared. Water supplies ran low and precious H2O had to be imported from Oklahoma.
Then as now, it wasn’t a matter of a simple bad year for agriculture. It was life or death.
This has been an absolutely miserable summer and right now, climatologists and weather experts are meeting in Fort Worth to decide if it will be as bad as the 1950’s.
One Whitehouse rancher we spoke to hopes not, because he was there.
“And what I remember about ’56 was corn going up the elevator and most of it was blowing off, which means it was nothing but a shuck there. Very little going in the wagon,” says 73-year-old Joe Hagan who lives on Hagan road, named for his family. They’ve been farming and ranching here since the 1930’s.
Joe was 18-years-old in 1956.
But he says in one way, this one is worse.
“Extreme heat, I think this year has been worse than anytime I can remember,” he told KETK.
Back then, farmers mostly vowed to ride it out.
“We sometimes say that this is what separates the drugstore farmers from those that are going to stay in it come hell or high water,” Joe says.
Joe showed us what would ordinarily be a hay field. It looks like a giant lawn.
But as for his future...
“I’ll go from here to the cemetary up here. Or if I decide to be cremated, just pitch them right out here. That’ll be fine,” he laughed.
Joe has planted alfalfa and if there’s some rain, any rain, it just might grow.
If that happens, they can make it. If not, he says it’s a good thing they own their land, or they’d be out of business by spring.