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      Cotton race to beat the rain

      Doug Hanson has been in the cotton farming business since 1967.

      He said picking cotton requires hard work under the hot sun, long hours and can be a guessing games at times since much of the season's success lies in mother nature's hands.

      The number one weather threat, Hanson said, is rain.

      "This is all irrigated (fields), so the weather conditions, as long as it's dry, we have plenty of water to irrigate with," Hanson said.

      Hanson said dry conditions are ideal for cotton farming because it lets the cotton flower bloom to its full potential. That TMs why when he heard of the possibility of Hurricane Ernesto making its way to the Rio Grande Valley he panicked.

      "It scares you because you could lose this whole crop and you've got lots of money tied up in this crop, Hanson said.

      There TMs a total of about 400 acres of cotton farming land near FM 800 and Rangerville Road, Hanson said, and each acre can bring in at least $500.

      Most seasons it TMs about just breaking even, Hanson said, but a total loss of the crop due to heavy rain would be devastating to each worker and their families.

      "At certain times, the right time, rain is really good, Hanson said. We need rain especially in the winter time to keep the ground wet and get it moist."

      The cotton farming business can sometimes seem like a game of Russian roulette, Hanson said, but he does it because it TMs in his blood.

      He just hopes the heavy rain will hold off for a couple more weeks, until this season TMs crop is completely picked.

      "It's good cotton, it's really good cotton here, Hanson said. A little rain won TMt hurt it, but a heavy rain will knock it all off.