Sunday rain helps alleviate drought, pests for El Paso area farmers

Sunday rain helps alleviate drought, pests for El Paso area farmers.

All of this rain in El Paso and Las Cruces is offering some much-needed help for the local farmers.

The area has been in a drought since Nov. 28. It’s the first time El Paso and Las Cruces have seen a drought since July. The drought is currently in the earliest stage, classified as “abnormally dry."

Some El Pasoans saw about a half inch of rain today. Meteorologist Zach Covey said this should help alleviate the drought completely.

That's good news for local farmers who have relied on well water recently.

"The rain today is definitely positive. Growing up in the desert, I feel like I'm a cactus myself,” regenerative agriculturist Yoseph Hernandez said.

“The rainwater is way better for crops than tap water, because tap water has a little bit of chlorine. That affects how the plants to grow," local organic farmer Mario Holguin said.

"In city water there's things like chlorine and a bunch of stuff that kills probiotics and living critters in the soil, which is what we're really trying to grow to build up the soil,” Hernandez said.

Even those who aren't farmers can take advantage of the rain. Holguin suggests harvesting rain water in a bucket Sunday night and saving it to water plants later.

"If you want to water your plants with just tap water, you can let it rest for 24 hours in the bucket and the chlorine is going to evaporate, and is going to be way better for your plants.”

Holguin grows winter and fall vegetables. He said this time of year, aphids eat the crops.

"So the rainwater washes those aphids away. It's like a natural pest control,” Holguin said.

Many farmers, like Hernandez, plan ahead to take advantage of rainfall like this.

"We do what's called sunken beds, where we dig down into the ground so that it allows the rainwater to collect and permeate deeper into the ground instead of running off of our property,” Hernandez said.

The rain is expected to last for another twelve hours.

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