The fall months are a celebratory time of the year in agriculture. Growers are busily harvesting an abundance of various crops following months of planning, investment, hard work, and sweat. Everyone is poised for a much deserved payday.
This fall, I visited several cotton field days and a gin. It was exciting to watch the cotton pickers march down the rows plucking the cottony-soft fiber.
Standing outside the gin, the distinctive humming sound created mental pictures of people and equipment working in harmony within to clean the fiber and ready it for the next step in the journey.
As a teenager, I picked cotton by hand near my Mississippi hometown. This brings back a flood of good memories each fall, along with one painful scar. Picking by hand led to multiple cuts and many bloody sores always too slow to heal.
This experience 40 years ago brought me to truly appreciate the technological innovations in agriculture over the decades since, including the marvel of today's mechanized cotton picker.
During those days, I also rode inside the cotton wagon enroute to the gin. It was a joyous adventure. If today’s Environmental Protection Agency had witnessed this event, they might have summoned an army of attorneys to put the grower and gin out of business and destroy the cotton.
Annual cottonseed company-sponsored field days during the fall allow sales reps, growers, ginners, chemical salesmen, pest control advisers, and others to come together. This fall, they greeted each other with manly handshakes and twinkles in the eyes; understanding the needed cooperation of all parties to produce a good crop.
Fall- and winter-time events help rekindle the soul and remind us of agriculture’s important role in everyone’s lives. After all, it’s teamwork at its best in agriculture around the world which feeds and clothes the 7.3 billion people on Earth.
The fall and winter months are also the time for annual meetings for many farm organizations. The events are usually chocked full of speakers highlighting the association’s successes, future challenges, industry growth, plus new research findings and innovations.
These meetings often include related trade shows which allow growers and vendors to meet one-on-one to collaborate in how to make agriculture better.
This fall is also a good time to recognize the ongoing growth in Western agriculture. Some crop-based organizations have shifted annual conferences to meeting facilities in larger cities tied to increased crop demand and related industry growth.
Two examples of this include the Almond Board of California which last year moved the annual Almond Industry Conference from Madera to Sacramento. The same is true for the American Pistachio Growers which a few years ago moved its annual conference from Santa Barbara to San Diego.
Farm meetings and events are an excellent time for those in agriculture’s food chain to come together and reflect on a year coming full circle, and to celebrate its many successes.
It’s a good time to be in agriculture. Take a moment to reflect on the many blessings this year before we turn the calendar page to an even more challenging 2014.