Yoakum County is located on the southern portion of the Texas High Plains and borders the state of New Mexico. Named for Henderson Yoakum, a pioneer historian, the county was organized in 1907. With respect to metropolitan areas, Plains (the county seat) is 100 miles from Roswell, New Mexico; 99 miles from Odessa, Texas; and 75 miles from Lubbock, Texas. The current population is 8, 786.
The county is square and covers 800 square miles of land area. The surface is gently undulating over most of the county with some relatively flat land. The soils over the county have a predominately fine sandy loam surface with a sandy clay loam subsoil.
The average growing season for the county is 199 days, beginning with the average last spring date of April 14 and ending with the first fall freeze date of October 27. The average annual rainfall is 16.2 inches. The humidity is relatively low. The altitude ranges from 3,490 to 3, 891 feet.
Oil and agriculture dominate the economy. In fact, Yoakum County is in the top four counties in the state in crude oil production. Cotton is the primary agricultural cash crop. Other agricultural income comes from peanuts, watermelons. grain sorghum, wheat, chili peppers, and beef cattle.
Yoakum County continued to be a cattle county with very little crop production until the early 1940’s when irrigation wells and sprinkler systems came into being. The development of irrigation water has had a more dramatic influence on the agricultural economy of the county than any other factor. The water is derived from the Ogallala Aquifer.
Yoakum County, like other Texas Counties, is concentrating on growing a strong educational system and developing a strong economy that will prepare its citizens and its children for the 21st century.
*For more information about Yoakum County, or any of Texas’ 254 counties, you can access the following: the Texas Almanac 1996-97; web sites http://govinfo.orst.edu/cgi-bin/bfact and http://monarch.tamu.edu: and the article titled, Undestanding Your Local Economy… County Data Set by Drs. Dennis U. Fisher and Judith I. Stallrnann, Department of Agricultural Economics, 340 Blocker Building, College Station, Texas 77843-2124.