This trip was long overdue. I’ve been lucky enough to talk to Halls, Tennessee farmer Johnny Dodson several times before – I vividly remember some Midwestern soybean farmers borrowing a cotton boll to show Johnny he wasn’t the only cotton person in Kansas City for a meeting and other chances to talk with him about how things were going on the farm or his ideas on topics of current interest.
Each time, Johnny said I should visit the farm sometime. I meant to do it for years so when someone was headed out on vacation & I heard there was a group going to visit a few places in West Tennessee and the Missouri Bootheel, including Johnny’s farm, I was glad to be the one tapped as a fill-in. So after years of thinking I should get to Johnny’s farm, I finally got there the week of the Fourth of July. And like every other chance I’ve had to talk to Johnny, I learned a lot. This time I was with soybean farmers from the Midwest. With cotton and soybeans planted on either side of the road and cows on a nearby hillside, we had a chance to visit for a while.
The whole group spent an hour talking with Johnny about his diversified farm (cotton, soybeans, corn and beef cattle). Since I did the full tour one day, the second day I asked Johnny if he’d mind going through some of this on video so it could be shared more broadly. With so much great information, we are going to make this a series of posts on the Dodson Farm. Today, we start the series with background on the farm, listen as Johnny talks about:
- Johnny farms with his 26-year-old son John who came home after college to work with a diversified operation growing cotton, corn, soybeans and a few head of beef cattle.
- The Dodsons farm has a lot of wildlife in the area including farming across the Obion River from a wildlife and waterfowl refuge. Among the most notable are rising populations of waterfowl, deer and turkeys.
- Johnny says the farm’s production practices have continued to improve as the tools available have improved. Farming a lot of highly erodible land, the family does a lot of no-till farming to maintain a year-round ground cover which encourages wildlife too.
- Crop protection products are part of the farm’s weed control and insect programs. He said he’s seen advances in technologies and products for decades and appreciates how these advances contribute to the farm long-term.
- Water quality continues to improve thanks to no-till farming which is helping reduce erosion of the fine, silt loam soils here.
We hope you enjoy hearing this straight from Johnny and will come back to hear his thoughts on weed management, weed resistance and farmer involvement in organizations.