Some farmers' loss is OK panhandle wheat farmers' gain - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Some farmers' loss is OK panhandle wheat farmers' gain

Many Oklahoma farmers face failing wheat crops after flooding rains this year. But it's not bad news for everyone. Their tough losses are driving other farmers' gains in our area.

Wheat farmers in the Oklahoma panhandle are cashing in on their crops expected to make up the bulk of the state's production.  But one Guymon farmer cautions, theprofits are just enough to play catchup after other hard years. Tom stephens knows wheat farmers like him don't always have it this good.  "If you have good yields, the price is usually down, and this year we've got good yields and a good price and that's the first time in 45 years i've been farming that's ever happened."

Stephens figures he'll turn out 150,000 bushels of wheat this year thanks to favorable conditions; while farmers elsewhere struggle to simply start over for next year. "Downstate is crying for seed weed and so they're gonna have to come to the panhandle to get it or Texas or somewhere where we had a crop this year because they had no crop and no seed weed."  With the drop in Oklahoma's supply Stephens's wheat can now fetch record prices at more than five dollars a bushel.

But don't expect him to take off on any fancy vacations. "We've had so many losses in the past that we're just getting even on this so there's not gonna be anybody getting rich out of it, no."  Guymon community development specialist Vicki McCune notes,"these farmers haven't been able to go buy new equipment, furnishing for houses, anything. So obviously this will impact the entire city, the entire county.

Stephens plans to use the extra profits to catch up on bills. And he's thinking ahead for next year. "We'd be real fortunate if it's this good, but two years in a row is alot to hope for."  Knowing other Oklahoma farmers have nothing to harvest, Stephens says he's just thankful to reap a good crop this year.

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