Historic heat wave hurting Panhandle farmers

Record heat, drought hurting local farmers
Record heat, drought hurting local farmers(WGEM)
Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 5:01 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 5, 2022 at 5:48 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - With more than 90 percent of Texas in a drought, local professionals are looking for ways to help farmers in the Panhandle.

Guillermo Marcillo, an assistant professor of agricultural analysis at West Texas A&M University, says data analysis and new technologies could help improve irrigation and soil quality. He added the current drought and heat conditions hurt production.

“Unfortunately, the weather is not perfect. It’s not suitable for [the producers],” Marcillo said. “They’re kind of losing dollars that they might want to have.”

Marcillo is no stranger to agriculture. He has worked in the field for decades, and earned his Ph.D. in crop physiology and production in 2018.

Speaking about farming and production, Marcillo said it is important to stay positive and that adapting new methods and technologies is necessary — especially for a region where water is such a vital resource.

“This is a great place on earth to be,” Marcillo said of Amarillo.

This summer could possibly be one of the hottest in Texas history, and parallels to the drought in 2011 have been drawn.

“The drought that we are experiencing this year is much more hard than the drought that was in this region 10 or 11 years ago,” Marcillo said. “That, for producers, makes them push very hard all of the decisions they want to make.”

The number and length of heat waves in the U.S. has steadily increased over the last 50 years. This increase has been linked to climate change.

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