How bad is the drought affecting such a large portion of the country? Well, when you see that it is one of the lead items on NBC-TV’s Evening News, it hits home. But when the story originates just a few miles from where I was recently in West Tennessee, it resonates. How ironic that I was at the Milan No-Till Field Day event where about 2,000 folks showed up for farm tours, special events and presentations on the latest developments in cotton, corn, wheat and soybean production. Just a few miles away in Brighton, Tenn., an NBC reporter was making the rounds talking to corn farmers, a restaurant owner, a car salesman and a retail department store clerk….trying to gauge how this drought was affecting everyone in a small town.
When I see such reports, I often wonder what made a national news network like NBC choose Brighton, Tenn., to gain an update on how a drought is affecting small town America. Did somebody call NBC? Was it just a roll of the dice? Probably neither of these options is the real reason for West Tennessee being spotlighted. Chances are, the local NBC affiliate in Memphis (WMC) passed along a story idea to the network. After all, the Mid-South area is certainly being affected by the drought, so it makes sense that the report would originate from this part of the region.
I say all of this to point out that life goes on for farmers in this area – despite the drought. Even though corn farmers are being hurt in a very real way by the drought, it was encouraging to see such a big crowd in Milan. This event is held every other year and never disappoints. Large crowds always turn out for presentations dealing with nutrient management, corn/cotton/wheat production, plant breeding, irrigation, seed treatments, precision ag and weed control.
That’s what gives me an optimistic view of the future for agriculture. Farmers still turn out for an event such as the Milan No-Till Field Day. The quest for gaining information and being on the cutting edge of technology is what drives most farmers. They don’t have time to sit around and complain. They’re too busy dealing with how to save and harvest their crops and looking ahead to next year.
Yeah, there were plenty of farmers at the Milan, and they weren’t happy with how these scorching temperatures are affecting their corn, soybean and cotton crops. But they managed to hide their feelings at this event. They always keep smiling, talking and looking on the bright side….even if there isn’t a bright side. Hopefully it will rain tomorrow and things will improve. After that, it’s a case of dealing with weather problems and having a sense of hope and faith.
That’s what makes all farmers very special people. No matter how daunting the task, they never quit.