Cotton Links


Work Never Stops At
Wildy Farms

By Tommy Horton

Ever wonder how busy a farm office is in the dead of winter? Or, better yet, how much preparation a farmer can do when it’s bitter cold outside, and the wind is blowing so hard that it feels like Chicago or Minneapolis? I had often wondered that myself, and pretty much knew that most innovative farmers didn’t waste their time in the winter – especially as we approach an important new crop season.

Winter months are a time to study data, check commodity prices, review variety trial results, work on budgets and be ready to visit the bank for the new year’s crop loan. It’s a busy time of the year, no matter what the weather is outside.

However, even I had to wonder what I might encounter when I was driving toward Arkansas farmer David Wildy’s office in mid-January on a sunny but chilly morning. I knew David by reputation as one of the most successful and innovative cotton producers in his state. But I had never met him in person.

After a short hour and a half drive up Interstate 55 and only getting lost once, I found his farm office in Manila in the northeastern part of the state. What I had suspected turned out to be true. This is a farmer who is meticulous, analytical and manages with a sense of purpose. He is a traditionalist, but he’s also a farmer who isn’t afraid to adapt to changing times.

As you’ll see in our cover story on pages 12 and 13, David knows something about cotton production. After all, this is his 34th crop. His father and grandfather farmed the same acreage. What impresses any visitor to Wildy Farms is the team approach employed year-round. His long-time consultants – Dale Wells and Les Goodson – have their own offices in the farm headquarters and are constantly sharing spreadsheets and data with him.

After spending two hours with me in non-stop conversation about his passion for farming and the future of cotton, Wildy re-emphasized his earlier comment. One man can’t run a farm by himself today, and he would truly be lost without his trusted consultants.

On just about any day, Wildy is a man in motion. His employees say he’s like a doctor on call 24 hours a day. But as I quickly found out, even the busiest farmer has to take a break occasionally. After asking him every question I could think of, I figured it was time to head back to Memphis. David had another idea. He insisted that I join him and his consultants for a quick barbeque lunch near Leachville.

On a cold January day, it was the perfect way to end our visit. Oh yeah, the barbeque was as good as any you’d find in Memphis. How’s that for the ultimate compliment?

If you have comments, send them to: Editor, Cotton Farming Magazine, 5118 Park Ave., Suite 111, Memphis, Tenn., 38117. Or send e-mail to: thorton@onegrower.com.

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