The Pleasure And Reward Of ‘Picking Pecans’

When I was a little girl, my dad picked up an extra piece of ground in East-Central Louisiana. It was good land and well suited for cotton. But what suited me most about it were the three big pecan trees sitting in what had once been the yard of a small farmhouse. The dwelling had long since been torn down, but the trees still stood tall and were prolific pecan producers.

My mom loved to crack and eat raw pecans and also make pies with them. For some reason, I never developed a taste for pecans and was the recipient of many pitying looks when I told people this. Despite my distaste for consuming pecans, I was old enough to recognize their potential to increase my stash of Christmas money. “Picking pecans” was the perfect opportunity to add to my meager allowance savings and little bit of money I made for doing extra chores.

After school and on Saturdays in the fall, my mom loaded several buckets into the station wagon, rounded up my next younger sister and me and announced we were all going to pick up pecans. The weather was usually beautiful, and it was fun to get down on the ground and establish a system for collecting as many pecans as we could to fill up bucket after bucket. Like death and taxes, the one given that could never be disputed was that our mom was the fastest pecan picker we had ever seen.

As the afternoon drew to a close, we crawled back in the car loaded down with our pecans and made a beeline to the elevator in Ferriday, Louisiana, where they were weighed and purchased by Mr. Howard “Dado” Russell. My sister and I were thrilled with the loot in our pockets while Mom anticipated sitting at the kitchen table shelling the pecans she had held back for herself and others who actually enjoyed eating them.

I was reminded of this experience while writing “Collaboration Embraces Winter Canola” on page 8. Corteva Agriscience, Bunge and Chevron U.S.A. have created an opportunity for Mid-South farmers to boost their income and reduce fossil fuels and carbon emissions.

And like my pecan-picking endeavor supplemented my allowance savings and extra chore income, the financial aspect of the Winter Canola Program potentially brings in “new money” for farmers to complement their current cropping systems.

Never underestimate the pleasure and reward of “picking pecans.”

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