On Sept. 22, as I prepared to start my day, I reflected on all the cotton-related images I’ve seen this month that covered one end of the spectrum to the other. Unfortunately, this journey began with devastating photos from South Texas.
When Hurricane Harvey rolled in the latter part of August, it blew the tarps off many rectangular modules, scattering freshly picked cotton across the field and back into the bare stalks from which it had just been picked. The round modules appeared to have held up better, but photos of them sitting in pools of water was not a good sign in regard to fiber quality. Many gin infrastructures also took a big hit.
In the aftermath, help appeared from near and far to assist with rescue and restoration efforts. To benefit farmers and ranchers specifically, the Texas Farm Bureau established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund for Agriculture. To learn more about how to donate or how to apply for assistance, see the article on page 13.
And then Tropical Storm Irma brought rain and high winds to the Southeast, twisting cotton and laying it over in some places, which will make defoliation and harvest more challenging. The article on page 14 describes the damage Georgia cotton experienced and what farmers will have to do to get their crop harvested this year.
In areas that escaped Mother Nature’s wrath, photos of beautiful cotton fields have been popping up on social media in stark contrast to the ones showing the weather-ravaged crop. The two extremes create mixed emotions of sadness for those who were devastated and happiness for those who were spared.
While pondering why cotton had to experience such inequities this season, my phone binged, signaling a text. Upon opening it, I saw a serene photo of a field of open cotton shimmering in the early morning sun. A single line of text from Arkansas consultant Bob Griffin was attached: “It’s beginning to look a lot like ‘cotton.’” It made me smile.
For the cotton farmers and ginners who are going about the business of recovering what they can and also to those who are climbing on their pickers and cranking up their gins to finish the season, our hearts go out to all of you.
If you have comments, please send them to: Cotton Farming Magazine, 7201 Eastern Ave., Germantown, TN, 38138. Contact Carroll Smith via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.