here to ask Blake Foust
a question or submit a comment about this month’s Cotton
Jump Start Your Cotton
Complete Pak is the first and only cotton seed treatment to combine
a nematicide with an insecticide and 3 different fungicides. It’s
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provided by Syngenta.
AVICTA Complete Pak is a promotional combination of three separately
registered products comprised of AVICTA®, Cruiser® and
Dynasty CST.® AVICTA technology is protected by U.S. Patent
No. 6,875,727 and other patents and pending patent applications
in the U.S. and other countries. Cruiser® insecticide is protected
by several pending patent applications and granted patents in
the U.S. and worldwide, including U.S. Patent Nos. 5852012 and
6844339. ©2007 Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc.,
P.O. Box 18300, Greensboro, NC 27419. Important: Always read and
follow label instructions before buying or using these products.
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.