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Planting A Crop After The Flood

In the August issue of Cotton Farming, you’ll find an extensive cover story about Arkansas producer Brian McDaniel and his heroic effort to replant his cotton crop after the floodwaters from the St. Francis River receded from his acreage. Let me say again in this space that an outsider can’t really appreciate how remarkable this effort was – unless, of course, you’ve visited the McDaniel farm near the small town of Widener, just east of Forrest City.

I was told about how floods had ravaged the farm’s acreage back in May. Nobody – especially Brian – thought there was much chance to salvage any kind of crop on the land. But here we are in late July, and it seems that a true miracle has occurred. If I hadn’t walked these fields in late July, I wouldn’t have believed this could happen.

Considering the fact that Brian finished replanting his cotton on about June 5, it’s amazing to see how well the crop has progressed. One of his replanted fields is near an early planted field that wasn’t damaged by the floods. If you didn’t know better, you’d say they were planted on the same date. That’s how quickly the replanted cotton has matured in the last few weeks.

Of course, it also didn’t hurt that eastern Arkansas received some timely rains in June and July, and that helped mature the cotton even faster.

In our August story, we have published a photo of what the McDaniel farm looked like in May, and it resembles what you’d see in a Third World country. The land has been completely swamped by the floodwaters. It’s nice to know that today’s farmers can somehow implement a plan – even when it appears to be a longshot to succeed. That is precisely what Brian McDaniel did. He said he had never quit on a project or a crop in his life. This year might be his finest hour as a farmer.