As the year draws to an end, people typically sit and reflect on how their season went. “Why did we, once again, not have a ‘normal year?’ I’ve never in my life seen anything like this.”
After having experienced this thought numerous times myself, it occurred to me that a “normal year” is elusive, a phantom we chase that doesn’t exist. The best we can do is learn from our experiences — good or bad — and keep going, confidently moving forward into next season.
In this month’s cover story, “Marking a Milestone, the Seal of Cotton turns 50,” we applaud the trademark’s ability to promote cotton and U.S. cotton growers to the world through promotion and product labeling over the past half century. But even after reaching this milestone, we are not through with it. As noted in The Cotton Board article on page 14, Cotton Incorporated is unveiling a new consumer marketing campaign called Memories are Made in Cotton to show that “cotton is as much a part of the future as it is our past.”
And in Northampton County, North Carolina, Donny Lassiter farms cotton with his brother, Mark. As third-generation farmers, they are building a lasting legacy that will support long-term sustainability for their operation. After harvest wraps up, the brothers don’t think about closing the book. Instead, they look forward to turning the page when spring comes back around.
“You get to the fall and harvest a crop,” Donny said. “You’re supposed to be excited, and I am, but I love the spring because it could be anything. It could be the best year ever. The unknown, the challenge and the opportunity — I look at challenge and opportunity as almost the same thing.”
Another observation involving cotton production is that the 2023 crop varied wildly not only from state to state but from field to field. In some areas, there were reports of a staggering 4+ bales of cotton per acre whereas in other places, yields did not do as well. But as Georgia cotton specialist, Camp Hand, said, “There are a lot of questions for me this far out, but I would definitely start thinking about next season if I were a grower.”
The Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association also is about to turn the page. Be on the lookout for informative flyers in the mail and an exclusive TCGA Q&A that will be published in the January issue of Cotton Farming. The 2024 event takes place April 4-5 at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center in Lubbock, Texas, and everyone across the Cotton Belt is invited to attend!
In closing out this note, I encourage you to celebrate your wins and put your losses behind you. Turn the page.
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!