Randall County Ends Cloud Seeding Program

Jennifer Wright, Panhandle Ground Water Project Meteorologist
Jennifer Wright, Panhandle Ground Water Project Meteorologist
Wade Elliott, Local Farmer
Wade Elliott, Local Farmer

Randall County farmers and ranchers say "no" to cloud seeding...a process that "could" create rain. 
Randall County Commissioners agree. They voted  to pass a resolution to end the controversial practice. Forty people representing most of the landmass in the county showed up to protest the program. They say in the eight years since  cloud seeding began they've had below average rain fall,  and claim it isn't working. Many feel the program does not benefit their business. Those protesting simply say they want the program to end. And because the number of farmers and ranchers was overwhelming they had the commissions ear this morning.

"99% of everyone in this courtroom this morning was against it. If were wrong were wrong, but I'm not going to sit up there and vote against everyone in this court room when no one has convinced me that it does any good." said County Judge Ernie Houdashell.

The Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District says the cloud seeding program has increased rainfall in the area. And even thoufgh they may say it's over, it's up to a state agency to say no to the program to actually make it go away. 

They are waiting for state approval to continue flying or clip their wings. 

"The cloud seeding program is positive because it helps to increase the rainfall 10 to 15 percent across out target area." said Panhandle Ground Water Project Meteorologist Jennifer Wright.
But ranchers and farmers say it doesn't work. 

"I'm a dry land farmer so I have no irrigation, I depend on natural rainfall that's the only irrigation my crops have. So if it's seeded here and blows out to the northside it's hurting me." said Farmer Wade Elliott.

 And that's what opponents say is happening. The area is fertilized between 75 to 90 miles away from where it was seeded, and the bulk of producers want the program stopped. 

"We don't want the Panhandle Groundwater Commission District trying to redistribute rainfall to the benefit of some and  detriment of others. We don't believe that they can increase rainfall for anyone because we all know there's only so much moisture in the clouds." said Rancher Jay O'Brien.

The licensing and Regulation agency committee has already unanimously decided to renew the district's license.  It's now in the hands of the Executive Director.