In the days before Hurricane Michael ripped across the Southeast, social media was blowing up with photos of some of the most beautiful cotton ever. Stunning fields of solid white gold. And then the weather forecast turned ugly.
Meteorologists confirmed that Hurricane Michael was gaining strength and headed toward the Florida Panhandle.
Southeast cotton farmers were racing the clock to harvest as much cotton as they could before the huge storm tore across their fields. The gorgeous images that filled social media feeds were replaced by anxious inquiries and words of encouragement from family and friends in other areas. Before reality had fully sunk in, Hurricane Michael roared through and replaced months of hard work and promising rewards with monumental losses.
As the storm clouds gathered early in the evening Oct. 9, a cotton farmer in south Georgia stopped for a moment to post a short video on Facebook, delivered in a soft, Southern drawl. Here is an excerpt from his monologue.
“A farmer never gives up. I’m sitting here knowing this cotton is fixing to be blowed to the ground. The pivot won’t walk, so I am manually walking it out of here with a screwdriver in it — back and forth, back and forth.
“Why do we do this? We do it because we love it. We do it because we enjoy it. We do it because of what’s in us. We do it for our family. We do it for our country. We do it for our fellow man.
“Not only that, it’s hard to hold this seed in your hand, plant it and walk through these fields all day, every day and then see it all get destroyed in just a minute. It makes you wonder and question, but it makes you stronger. Not everybody is cut out for this. Sometimes I wonder if I am. But we will live through it. We will survive. In Jesus’ name I pray, and I pledge allegiance. Thank you.”
In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael’s destruction, so many farmers face devastation and many will have to start over. But their spirits remain intact….come hell or high water.