Each year in the Publisher’s Note I reflect on the past season. To say that 2011 was all over the board is, perhaps, an understatement. Our Texas farmers suffered the worst with extreme heat and drought. The Mid-South and Southeast also experienced a lack of rain as well as one of the hottest summers that I can remember.
For the Mississippi Delta, this seemed extremely unusual because the Mighty Mississippi was lapping at the top of the levees for weeks while crops were deteriorating in the fields. How can that much water be just miles away yet unavailable to the crops?
For some of our farmers, the backwater posed problems of flooding. Somehow, this whole scenario seems like an oxymoron. The price of cotton was very attractive, but it seemed to some like a slap in the face because they could not capitalize on the market. Others were able to produce a strong crop and were fortunate to actually gain from the market prices.
In trying to wrap my head around the outcome of this past season, I am reminded of the Serenity Prayer. The content is something like, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” While this prayer has been adopted by such organizations as Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as some other 12-step programs, it seems somewhat fitting in this instance.
While there are management decisions you can make to improve your odds, there also are things you have no control over. For example, the 2011 drought certainly demonstrates the agronomic value of irrigation, but real limitations such as unreliable water sources and/or small, irregular field sizes may make the fixed costs difficult to justify economically.
Arguably, the one thing that all farmers can do is be proactive in getting a Farm Bill that provides the support you need for your operation. Is this the courage or the wisdom part? Probably both. It takes a united effort to achieve some things as crucial as farm policy. That is one of the cotton industry’s strengths. So, the courage is coupled with wisdom to make positive things happen in Washington.
Cotton Farming magazine prides itself on delivering credible information that can make a difference in your farming operation. The technical, practical and industry issues of the day coverage provide growers with some important tools that drive success. That is our job, and we love it. One of the reasons that we love it is that growers in our industry love their business and see it as their way of life. What’s more, they recognize that no matter the challenges of last year, this year can be better.
While you are evaluating your next season and determining what changes you may make from the production standpoint, make sure you take the time to preserve a strong Farm Bill to even the odds.