Monday, June 5, 2023

This Is Not A Competition

In many industries, competition is an ingrained part of an entity’s culture in which a person strategizes about how to move themselves forward or upward to achieve their individual goals. The agriculture industry is more of a collaboration among its members. They tend to work together to help one another’s operations succeed and promote the U.S. cotton industry to the public, both on a local and international level.

For example, you’ve all heard the stories about farmers assisting other farmers at planting time or during harvest. When a farmer is facing an unexpected situation in which his ability to keep the operation moving forward is impaired, his neighbors often step up to volunteer their time and equipment to fill in the gap. Another example involves a consultant who contracted Covid-19 during the heat of the growing season. Upon hearing this news, the other area consultants came together to assist. They split up the consultant’s clients among themselves — without charge — to make sure the fields got checked and recommendations made to keep everything running smoothly until he recovered.

Also, more farmers are beginning to use social media platforms to educate the public about the “real world” of farming to counteract much of the misinformation that is often spread. Matt and Kelly Griggs, who farm in Humboldt, Tennessee, started out using Facebook to share information, then shifted to YouTube and Instagram. On page 8, read about their efforts to keep honesty at the forefront of social media and be agvocates in their fields. 

On a broader stage, the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol was launched in 2020 to bring quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurement to the key sustainability metrics of U.S. cotton production. As Louisiana crop consultant Dr. Rogers Leonard said, “For the cotton industry, this is an opportunity to stand up to the plate and begin to control a little bit of their own destiny. By participating in the Trust Protocol and showing you are employing sustainable practices, you are going above and beyond many of the cotton producers around the world.

“The United States is already recognized for great cotton quality, but we have to be able to document that now at the farm level with individual practices. The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol brings that level of value to the individual producer. The hope in the future is that this value will translate into a much better return on their investment.”

The take-home message is that the U.S. cotton industry is not a competition among individuals but rather a group effort to ensure the success of everyone in each sector and promote those positives around the world.

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