Farmland in dire need of rainfall

They say if you don’t like the weather in eastern New Mexico, wait a few minutes and it’ll change.

OK, I’m ready for a change.

There’s a story going around that they’re laying off weather forecasters left and right because anyone can write the forecast lately. It goes something like this:

“Lots of sunshine, highs in the upper 80s with winds 20-25 mph and gusting to 40 in the afternoon. Little or no chance of precipitation.”

At this point I would almost welcome a freak April blizzard.

Last week’s fire just further emphasized what we all know — we’re burning up out there — literally.

We are so very fortunate to have firefighters who swallow smoke for up to 10 hours straight in one of these bad fires. Many of them have put in hours of their own time, sacrificing family time to train and respond.

We need rain really bad. But even rain won’t immediately get us out of the high fire danger; in fact when the rain does come it will likely cause more fires. But we need to start seeing the situation around turn around now or we’re going to have it rough this summer.

Farmers need moisture to plant crops. Some are irrigated but it’s hard to keep up with growing plants needs when it’s this dry. Dry land wheat is lost and other dry land crops won’t be planted without rain.

Dairies depend on those farms to supply feed, without it their operation costs skyrocket. Cows get sold, production is cut and budgets get tighter.

Ranchers need good grass if they’re going to keep cattle on the range, they can’t feed them and if the cattle don’t do well the rancher doesn’t make money.

I was more than a little dumbfounded with the comments beneath an online story about how our fire was affecting ranchers. He figured the fire will burn through and the grass will immediately come back even better than it was before. You’ve got to have rain before that begins to happen, guy. In the meantime those cattle can’t eat sand and burned yucca stalks.

When I was growing up people knew when we had a good year in agriculture on the plains: The farmers bought new pickups, money was spent on furniture, clothes and appliances and the sound of the cash register made us all feel good.

Believe it or not this area is still linked closely to the fate of agriculture. Fewer of us are directly working in the fields or on the ranch or dairy but our local economy always has suffered in a drought year and it will again.

Prayer is our only option as it was for homesteaders trying to tame these sandhills. This Easter Sunday a community-wide time of prayer will be held at 6 p.m. at 3rd and Kilgore Church of Christ in Portales.

Imagine hundreds of people praying in one voice for one thing. Imagine the relief an all-powerful God can bestow on a parched landscape.

If you can’t be there stop by the feasting and the Easter egg hunts for just a little while today and thank God for his son who is risen and ask the Lord for rain.

Karl Terry writes for Freedom New Mexico. Contact him at: karlterry@yucca.net