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Cotton’s Best Friend?
Today’s Technology

By Lia Guthrie

And so we've come to the end of another crop season with enough hills and valleys, ups and downs and unexpected surprises to fill a John Grisham novel. This was not your typical year, and it's debatable if we'll see another one like it anytime soon.

A statement that has always made me a little uncomfortable is “the only thing constant is change.” I come from a very traditional, Southern family, so in my mind I am more at ease with what the chores of the day involve rather than contemplating what the next best invention to make life easier might be.

Some may call it complacency, but I prefer to think of it as safe. If I take each day as the last in my comfortable little world, I know what to expect. I am not one who likes surprises (unless it involves diamonds or cashmere). I like order and schedules. I live and breathe in a deadline world.

One tradition we have at Cotton Farming magazine is my writing a Publisher’s Note for our January issue. When Tommy asked me to write one this year, my initial thought was “no problem.” After all, I expected him to ask. Then came the “surprise.” He asked me to write a column on technology! My first reaction was amusement since everyone who knows me is aware that I am the most technology-challenged person in every category. Then the reality set in as the deadline approached, and my feeling was unmistakable. Fear!

In giving this subject some thought, I realized that fear prevents us from learning and growing into a more adaptable individual. It also prevents us from getting the most out of life. If everything we did was risk-free, we would not be challenged to achieve our potential.

One of the biggest benefits we obtain from technology is improved efficiency. We have the new module on-board harvesters to reduce labor costs, module builders and trucks to improve efficiency in both harvesting and ginning, walking floors for gins, aerial applicators with high-tech instruments to calculate applications and yield monitors.

From a personal perspective, technology has allowed our staff to improve efficiency and has provided increased flexibility. We once used typewriters instead of word processing, film before digital cameras and “pasted-up” manually before using computers for pre-pressing. While sometimes pining for the good ole days, it would be hard to imagine life without e-mail and cell phones. Our cover photo for this issue is a perfect example of a progeny of technology.

I realize it is important to accept the things we cannot change. However, I think it is equally important to embrace those things that allow us to evolve and prosper. I am grateful for the visionaries who continue to research and ultimately provide us with options, allowing us to tap additional possibilities to improve our bottom line.

May 2009 be a year of growth for each of us by utilizing the new opportunities now available to us through technology. As a former pastor of mine used to say, “You can’t walk on water if you don’t get out of the boat.”

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