Their day typically begins before sunrise as they roll out of bed, pull on their boots and head to the fields. Their trucks are full of tools of the trade — cell phones, laptops, notebooks, sweep nets, drop cloths and maybe a pack of Nabs or protein bar to sustain them on the turnrows while they check your crops throughout the long, hot days. These are cotton consultants — most of whom will say their profession is more than a job. It’s personal.
“My philosophy is that the relationships between a consultant and his farmers are built around trust — them trusting you and you earning their trust,” says Arkansas cotton consultant Eddy Cates. “Reliability is also important. At Cates Agri Tech, we are proud of the fact that we are very reliable, have years of experience in the field, and are willing and capable of adapting to change and new technology. But No. 1 is earning the farmer’s trust.”
In Texas, cotton consultant Paul Pilsner says, “My philosophy is to treat these farms as if they were mine, and my goal is profitability.”
Tim Roberts and Billy Beegle have been crop consulting partners since 1984 in Arkansas, Tennessee and the Missouri Bootheel. Roberts says they complement each other.
“Billy and I have been with many of our farmers for more than 30 years and now work for some of their sons.” he says. “They all consider themselves ‘cotton farmers’ and want to continue growing cotton. Some years are more challenging than others, but the job is never boring. It’s intense, and we learn something new all the time.”
To recognize the dedication and hard work of cotton consultants who put it all on the line for their farmers, Syngenta and Cotton Farming magazine have sponsored the Cotton Consultant of the Year award for more than four decades. Currently, we are seeking nominations for the 2021 Cotton Consultant of the Year.
If you have a consultant who has outstanding customer relations, leadership and innovation, please go to cottonfarming.com/ccoy and nominate him or her. You also can fill out the nomination form on page 7 and scan/email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Another option is to drop it in the mail to my physical address.
I believe this is a good way to say thank you to the faithful individuals whose “footprints in the field” help increase your bottom line. Please let us hear from you today!