While standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, a copy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac 2021 caught my eye. I haven’t picked one up in a while, so I decided to refresh my memory about what it has to offer. The reference book was established in 1792, and according to its website is “North America’s most popular reference guide and oldest continuously published periodical.”
The history section recounts that at the time of its inception, many other almanacs were being published. Credit for The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s success is given to its first editor, Robert B. Thomas.
“Based on his observations, Thomas used a complex series of natural cycles to devise a secret weather forecasting formula, which brought uncannily accurate results, traditionally said to be 80% accurate,” the website says. “Even today, his formula is kept safely tucked away in a black tin box at the almanac offices in Dublin, New Hampshire.”
To me, it’s intriguing to imagine that the secret formula for predicting weather lies quietly in a little box up North.
An interesting quote that appears on the opening page of the periodical says, “Knowledge is telling the past. Wisdom is predicting the future.” It is attributed to W. Timothy Garvey, American endocrinologist and clinical investigator. These words made me think of the National Cotton Council’s Economic Services annual report on “The Economic Outlook for U.S. Cotton.”
Each year, the staff gathers information from the previous year on topics such as U.S. cotton acreage, production, mill use and exports. They also collect details of world cotton imports and exports. Armed with this knowledge, the NCC Economic Services department then makes predictions for the upcoming year. Go to page 10 to see the results of their latest efforts and page 6 to read NCC President and CEO Gary Adams’ commentary on the report.
As we sit on the cusp of spring and cotton planting, also check out page 14 where university cotton specialists from across the belt share last-minute production tips based on their knowledge of specific geographies. Years of experience and the ability to communicate best recommendations make these talented resources invaluable to cotton farmers.
Unlike the custom at The Old Farmer’s Almanac, those we depend on to impart knowledge and wisdom to the U.S. cotton industry don’t keep their secret formula tucked away in a black tin box. Instead, they put it all out there for the benefit of everyone.
And for that, we are grateful.