Farmer loses majority of crop in flood

LAWTON-- One local farmer lost tens of thousands of dollars in crops to Lawton's flooding waters this week. Hay producer Joe McMahan had his hay crop cut and ready to be baled, but then the rain started falling, and East Cache Creek flooded his fields -- sweeping away his crop.

McMahan says if his growing alfalfa stays underwater for 12 more hours -- the crop will drown, and he will not be able to salvage anything. He estimates he may have lost more than 50 acres.

He was preparing his hay to reach the perfect moisture, and Tuesday he made the decision to wait just one more night, because he didn't think the rain was going to be that bad... That's when he lost more than $30,000.

"I had a man tell me at church sunday, he said 'didn't you pray for rain real hard last year?' And I told him 'I prayed for it every time I could,'" McMahan said. "And he said 'your prayers aren't always immediately answered, so don't pray for it to stop, or next year might be dry again.'"

As a hay producer, his income is 100 percent agriculture. But he had to sit by this week, watching as the floodwaters washed his future down the drain.

"These fields here got underwater yesterday morning, so we're already probably 36 hours out right now," he said. "And so anything that's got water on it right now, and I don't see it going down in the next 24 hours you can pretty well figure it's going to drown those plots out."

He says with all the rain this summer he can grow more alfalfa than he knows what to do with -- but he has no way to get it off his fields and onto a truck.

"Because now I've got all the carnage and damage to deal with, where last year we were just sitting there waiting on the rain," he said. "And this year we're getting too much rain and we've got to do a lot of clean up, without anything to sell for it, at least not this week."

He says he's already weeks behind schedule because of the weather, and now he will now have even more work to do. After the water recedes, he still has to clear all the debris from his fields, because little pieces can get caught in his equipment, and big pieces will damage the crop.

"All the work with no reward," he said. "We still got to go through all the same process, we just don't get to have any hay to sell for it."

He says if mother nature gives him two or three days of pure sunshine -- he might be able to save some of his crop. But so far -- he says he hasn't made even 10 percent of the income he normally earns during a hay season.