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gripped Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and much of

Texas Panhandle farmer during the devasting drought of the 1950s reminds us —

on farmer morale. Yet, a journal kept by one

the Sorghum Belt this year has taken a toll

The drought that has By Lindsay Kennedy W We’ve been here before

ayne Hutchison, like many farmers of the post-World War II and Great Depression era, accounted for every cent and bushel he made on his farm 11 miles south of Spearman, Texas. After he purchased his farm in 1949, Hutchi-

son began keeping a journal, documenting the weather, his planting and harvest- ing activities, and how his crops and livestock were doing.

A picture from 1951 shows Hutchison, his son John, and his wife Louene as the family harvested their sorghum crop. His journal paints the picture of a relatively normal year on the farm in 1951 but begins showing signs of what was to come.

July 23, 1951 – Rained one inch on maize (sorghum)…about half up, hasn’t rained in fi ve weeks.

Sept. 27 – Finished cutt ing Dwight’s maize and started mine. His made 36 to 40 bushels and mine made about 34 bushels per acre on north 88 acres. Weather dry. August planted wheat not doing much.

Oct. 4 – Finished cutt ing all maize, but need some top moisture. 60-day maize beginning to fi ll.

Pictured above: The late Wayne Hutchison, his

son, John, and his wife, Louene, on their farm

south of Spearman, Texas, in 1951.

Photo courtesy of John Hutchison 8 Dec. 11, 1951 – Sold rest of my maize $2.40 per hundred. 93,000 lbs.

“That year was prett y fair as far as rain and crops go,” said John Hutchison, who is now the county att orney for Hansford County in the Texas Panhandle. The Hutchi- sons raised sorghum and wheat on their farm, as well as catt le and poultry. John’s father Wayne passed away in 1959, but he still owns the same farmland today.

SORGHUM Grower Fall 2011

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