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Cotton Consultant's Corner

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Click here to ask Blake Foust
a question or submit a comment about this month’s Cotton Consultant’s Corner.

  
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Blake Foust
Southern Heritage Cotton Co.
Forrest City, Ark.  

• BS degree in Ag Business, MSA in Agriculture – ASU
• Began consulting in 1994 while attending college
• Certified Crop Adviser and currently on the Arkansas
  Board serving as past chairman
• Certified Professional Agronomist and a member
  of the American Society of Agronomy
• Incoming president of St. Francis County Farm Bureau
• My wife, Jamie, and I have been married for 10 years and
  have two daughters – Halle, 6, and Annalee, 4.
• In the off season, I enjoy turkey hunting.


In this Q&A interview, Foust talks about a crop consultant’s
challenges and rewards in today’s ag environment.

What services do you offer and how do they contribute to your farmer client’s profitability?

I consult on cotton, soybeans, rice, wheat, corn and grain
sorghum. I try to be involved from the beginning all the
way through to harvest. You can’t cut corners in getting
a stand or getting the crop out. I provide herbicide, insecticide, fertility and PGR recommendations and
provide grid sampling services. Most of this work is
done when a composite sample calls for lime because
it’s more economical to use variable rates with lime.
Being involved in more than one of a grower’s crops
allows me to have a better idea about problem areas
as fields are rotated.

What have you found to be the best approach to processing information/technology and sharing
it with your farmer clients?

I try to attend as many meetings in the fall and winter as I
can to stay current on new technology. I also like to look at
small acreages of new things on my grower’s fields to help
growers evaluate their worth. It’s hard to comprehend all of
the new information, so I rely not only on other consultants
but also on the manufacturer sales/R&D reps to answer questions that arise. Most growers are willing to look at
new things, but when you make a recommendation that doesn’t work, it can be tough. It seems lately that by the
time you figure something out, it has become old news.

How would you describe the future role of the cotton consultant?

The role of cotton consultants will evolve as the industry changes. With the uncertainty of the new Farm Bill, we will have to prove our worth as more than strictly “cotton” consultants and become more diversified. To survive we will have to get involved in every crop a producer grows.
Consultants need to be seen as key decision makers, not only as far as what varieties to plant, but which crop to plant and how to plant it. We will become more involved on preparing budgets and giving updates throughout the year on how closely we are following the budget. The days of just checking for insects are behind us now.

What has been the most rewarding part of your profession?

The most rewarding part of this profession for me is helping growers reach their goals and potential. To begin working with someone who may be struggling and seeing their operation become more profitable is rewarding. I also enjoy the network of consultants that I can call and bounce ideas
off of when new scenarios arrive. Over the years I’ve made contacts across the country that I can lean on for help. I don’t know all of the answers, but give me enough time and I will find them. We’re all in this together.

 

- COTTON CONSULTANT'S CORNER ARCHIVES -

Cotton Consultant of the Year Award
  • 
Cotton Consultant of the Year History
  • 
Cotton Consultant of the Year Recipients

 


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