Angelina County farmers suffer after extreme weather changes

Angelina County farmers suffer after extreme weather changes

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Angelina County and several East Texas counties voted to enact a burn ban for the next 90 days in Tuesday's Commissioner's court meeting.
It's a complete 360 from the disaster declaration of a little over a month ago.

"There was a lot a lot of rain and flooding early spring, and now that's all gone," said Angelina County Judge, Wes Suiter.

Suiter said after consulting with several officials, it was the safest route to take.

"It's just not worth putting people's lives or livestock's lives at risk to burn some trash," Suiter said.

Suiter recalled declaring a disaster earlier this summer.

"Two months ago, we had five inches of water over the roads, and now we don't have water anywhere," Suiter said.

"The plants never grew. Normally they should be twice this size," said Otis Harbuck, a pea producer for 30 years.

Outside of the court and in the center of a crumbling crop, the aftermath of the extreme weather changes can be seen.

"Everything was right and had come up perfectly. It was one of the most perfect fields I've ever seen. About four or five days later it started raining," Harbuck said.

Harbuck plowed and planted his entire crop over only to find the riveting rain has left behind dreadful dryness. Now the crop Harbuck replanted due to heavy rains can't grow.

"It washed, eroded, to the point I had to completely redo it," Harbuck said. "Now it's the heat. We went from one extreme almost overnight. There are some on the ground we just had to plow up."

Harbuck says this situation is a first. Angelina County rainfall records reveal 15.75 inches in May, 10.15 inches in June, and only 0.93 inches in July.

"I have never experienced this type of situation, weather wise," Harbuck said.

Though many farmers are in the same boat, Harbuck can only wait to see if the crops he does have will pull through.

"It's up to the Lord and the weather," Harbuck said.

Wednesday is the deadline to register for Disaster Unemployment Assistance in Angelina County. Anyone who lost work as a result of May 4 to June 22 severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding should call the Texas Workforce Commission.

Copyright 2015 KTRE. All rights reserved.