Friday, April 19, 2024

‘Stay Low, Boys; Keep Those Feet Moving’

Carroll Smith
Carroll Smith

Football season is still three months away, but the other night I ran across the movie Friday Night Lights and had to watch it…again. The high school football drama is set in Odessa, Texas, where “the game” is the lifeblood of the town.

If you can get past the underlying political and social issues in the film, it’s exciting to see the determination and effort put forth by the players in their quest for the prize – winning the state championship. During the season, they had to face many challenges, overcome hurdles and make adjustments to make it to the final matchup.

While working on this issue of Cotton Farming, I was reminded that everyone in the U.S. cotton industry also has “to face many challenges, overcome hurdles and make adjustments” to reach harvest, deliver a good crop and try to make a profit in a less-than-optimum market.

In order to successfully make it to the goal line this year, farmers and consultants must stay vigilant in controlling cotton insects to protect yield and quality. As Pete Goodell told me during our conversation about the California cotton system, “People outside the industry don’t realize how hard it is to grow and protect a cotton crop.” It’s true that in some instances there are alternative non-chemical options to help control cotton insect pests. But when these options are not viable, we must have the necessary tools available to get the job done. If we don’t have the bales and the quality to take to the gin, and ultimately the marketplace, then there is no way we can win the game.

In the quest to keep efficacious tools in the hands of U.S. cotton farmers, the National Cotton Council reports on page 10 that those testifying at a recent House Agriculture Committee subcommittee hearing “explained that crop protection businesses that support American agriculture recently have seen serious deviations from the regular order, transparency and scientific integrity of the Environmental Protection Agency’s risk assessment-based pesticide review process. The witnesses urged Congress and stakeholders to work with government agencies, including EPA, to ensure that no policies are enacted that would prevent farmers and ranchers from economically producing food and fiber.”

I personally would like to thank the NCC for continuing to serve as one of U.S. cotton’s most loyal advocates. And with the 2016 cotton season in full swing now, the directive given to the young players in Friday Night Lights aptly applies to those in the cotton industry as well: “Stay low, boys; keep those feet moving.” You may be up against formidable foes, but all you can do is your best.

If you have comments, please send them to: Cotton Farming Magazine, 7201 Eastern Ave., Germantown, TN, 38138. Contact Carroll Smith via email at

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