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My Turn

A New Home in Vietnam

I was born in England, a banker for awhile, finally achieving my boyhood dreams by getting my wings. Airplanes and unique opportunities took me many places before I ended up in cotton country – Lubbock, Texas. After an interesting decade of crop dusting, Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. (PCG) hired me. In my various roles with PCG, I was honored to ... Read More »

Technology Moves Quickly

Not too long ago I wrote about challenges that we will be facing in the next 20 to 30 years regarding how we will feed the world’s growing population. The challenges with food and water shortages, as well as losing farmland, will no doubt be of great concern in our future and our children’s future. Today’s technological advancements are moving forward at an alarming pace that is downright eerie. I wish my grandfathers were both around so they could see how different things are now compared to the good old days. Occasionally, there are times when I reminisce about why I had to learn some things in school. I always thought that there would be no reason for me to use some of the things that I learned in graduate school once I made the transition into the real world. I am in research. So, as you know, it is a field that is technically oriented. Some of my fellow researchers may be a little quirky about how their research plots are laid out. Read More »

The Fabric of My Life

In August of 1978, I was two weeks old when we moved into our new house. It was just outside of Princeton, N.C., and across the road from the home of my maternal grandparents. The agriculture industry is full of great people.” Like many in his day, my granddaddy operated a small farm. He kept a herd of 20 to ... Read More »

Heavy Rains Were Beneficial

Texas is known for volatile weather, which can have a significant impact on agriculture in the state. Cotton crops fluctuate with what Mother Nature throws at us, and for good reason as many of our acres are dryland production. Although this year has been challenging with all the rain we have received, it generally works out that we make more ... Read More »

R.I.P. – The Loan Chart

The Loan Chart has taken a fatal blow. After more than half a century of existence, it simply didn’t have the capacity to adjust to the shifts we saw in this past year. Specifically, there has been no way to account for cotton staple longer than 36. Until recently, no one had the capability to grow the type of crop ... Read More »

Riding On The Planter

Robert Royal

When I was about 13 years old, my father gave me my first real paying job on the farm, and I was very proud to become a part of the team. My assignment was to ride on the planter. It wasn’t a cushy job, because the days were long, and the old planter was a Rube Goldberg contrivance that was ... Read More »

Keeping Cotton King Of The High Plains

When I look back over the years since I first moved to Lubbock to begin my career with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service working in cotton, several things are clear with regards to cotton production in the Texas High Plains and Panhandle regions. Producers in the region are highly progressive and always looking for and trying new technologies and varieties that enable them to continue to produce high yields of excellent quality cotton. Also, their faith in God is unwavering as proven by their resolve even when faced with less than favorable growing conditions in an ever-changing environment. As I have heard, and have repeated several times myself, “if you don’t like the weather in Lubbock, just wait a minute, it will change.” As we have witnessed over the years, each growing season is different with its own set of “challenges” that producers must overcome in order to have a successful cotton harvest. More recently, Texas High Plains and Panhandle producers have dealt with extreme drought conditions that have, just this winter, shown significant signs of improvement. Read More »