By Tyne Morgan
This week, it’s all about cotton — a crop I knew very little about until about a year ago. It’s used in more things than you might realize: money, cooking oil, and diapers to name a few. It’s a crop that truly is a part of our daily lives. I remember when an athletic apparel company came out with a campaign about cotton being the enemy. Although my family doesn’t grow cotton, the campaign offended me because cotton is a staple of our society that profits farmers, and farmers are no one’s enemy.
One thing that amazed me last year and continues to intrigue me is how emotionally tied cotton growers are to their crop. Even though the commodity price went down, many cotton growers weren’t going to give up on the crop because of the success it had brought them in previous years.
I also learned cotton is a high-maintenance crop. I compare it to a high-maintenance woman (which I’m allowed to say because I have been accused of being one). It’s a crop that requires a lot of work, even though it has been made easier to grow with technologies that offer more weed and pest control with less pesticide applications. Still, these farmers grow it because it’s what they love to do.
If you’ve followed the harvest updates this year, you’ve seen what a tough year it’s been for farmers all across the U.S. due to Mother Nature providing too much this fall of what many farmers pray for during the summer months — rain. Well, it’s no different in the Mid-South. In fact, my heart broke for the farmers I spoke to in Louisiana because, for the second year in a row, the weather has not cooperated, and they’re hurting. Last year three hurricanes damaged their crop, and this year excessive rain is doing the same.
Like one of the farmers I spoke to said: “When you have a bad year in farming, you can’t run away from it. “
Because other farmers in the area are in the same boat, everyone understands the amount of stress it puts on farming families — as well as their local communities. When farmers have a bad year, usually the local businesses feel it as well, due to less spending.
On a positive note, the farmers I spoke with in Louisiana are trying to ensure their glass stays half-full and are hoping and praying for a better year next year. And despite a bad crop, they’re standing by their cotton.
You can check out Tyne’s Georgia and Louisiana harvest update on Monsanto.com
For more photos of Tyne’s trip, check out the slideshow on Flickr