Today is a gorgeous day here in northeast Arkansas. Everywhere I travel around the farm we have tractors rolling and so do all of our neighbors. It is an exhilarating sight! One night this past week Greg called me after dark and told me he counted 14 sets of tractor lights running in fields around us. I could hear the excitement in his voice. It is a new beginning for farms all across our country.
Each spring we get another chance to start again. To make a bumper crop; beat our record yield; try new technology; and settle in to the comfort of the old ways that are still the best of the best techniques. We have been in farmer meetings all winter reviewing the prior year and making plans for our success. Gathered together with neighbors and PhD’s from all the respected Universities that conduct research and trials to confirm why we need to adopt something new or stick with what we have always known to be tried and true. We labor over balance sheets with lenders looking over our shoulders and gather all the required tax documents to meet the March 1st tax deadline for farmers. We ship the grain from our grain storage and look to the futures market for all our crops to calculate if we have a break even price available or not. We make plan after plan of how we will do everything perfectly to reap a bountiful harvest in the fall. Then we wait. We wait and we pray. It is a renewal of our businesses but also of our hope. Hope for an easy planting season and timely rains throughout the growing season. Hope that our family grows stronger together and not apart under the stress of the job.
AND THEN…the calendar turns to the proper date and the good Lord brings us the beautiful weather we need to begin again. Wheels are rolling and the smell of freshly turned soil only encourages us to work harder. Seeds are placed with premeditated accuracy into a seedbed waiting to spring forth the goodness of the Earth. It is an exciting time of year on the farm.
On our farm we begin by planting corn, then rice and soybeans. We are fortunate to have the climate that will grow many types of crops. There is also cotton, peanuts, grain sorghum, and even fruits and vegetables in our area. Because we are in the heart of rice country we have the ability to irrigate our crops and further reduce the risk of crop failure. On our farm, we have implemented water saving irrigation delivery systems and practices for decades. Not only do we need the water for our crops to survive but we want to conserve as much as possible as well. Our summers are usually very hot and dry and we risk losing an entire crop if we did not have irrigation.
So here we go!! We are off and running on another year. This will be my 25th full time crop and I think I am finally getting my groove. We will plant non GMO corn for a local non GMO poultry company; long grain rice; medium grain rice; aromatic rice; non GMO soybeans for a Japanese food product; and GMO soybeans for local soybean markets. It is already a whirlwind and that’s the way we like it until exhaustion sets in and we need a rain. But those days will come and hopefully they will be timely.
“Sow your seed in the morning, and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good” -Ecclesiastes 11:6