BY CHUCK FARR
After 24 years of being an independent consultant I can honestly say I have been able to see and learn to do many things through my consulting business. I have to say that the most important things I have learned have come from my father, clients and other consultants, all whom I call my friends.
Some have passed away over the years, but many are still a viable part of agriculture today. I grew up on a farm, and the life lesson I always was taught was to work hard, be honest and trustworthy, do the best job possible and you will succeed. I was also taught to admit when you are wrong and be responsible for all of your actions.
All of these lessons have played an important role in my business being a success. Every town had a school that had a Vocational Agriculture teacher who taught the basics of agriculture in high school along with an FFA club. Some students would go back to the farm after graduation, and others would go to college and return to the farm to be part of the management team. Today most of the small towns in the Delta have dried up, and the schools have consolidated with larger schools.
The Vocational Agriculture teachers and classes were cut during consolidation, and today most students do not have the opportunity to learn about agriculture in the classroom like they did several years ago. Students who want to pursue a career in agriculture have to go on to college before they really get a feel of what agriculture really is today.
Just look back 20 years ago or even 50 years ago and see how far agriculture has come. Fifty years ago we were handpicking cotton and doing most of the field work with two-cylinder tractors and one- row equipment. We pulled cotton sacks through the fields and weighed them at a trailer during the day. Cotton was ginned and wrapped in burlap and went on its way to the market or textile mills in the eastern part of the United States. We graduated to bigger tractors and four-row equipment and two-row cotton pickers – then on to what we have today. Cab tractors, which for the most part have more convenience than houses, are the norm for today. Pickers are big enough that they pick, pack and wrap – all at the same time. Sprayers are built with 120-foot booms and are equipped with tanks bigger than the water trailers most producers used to pull with their pickups.
We have seen most farms increase in size and decrease in labor and equipment. We have witnessed and experienced the word RESISTANCE in many ways. Insects that are resistant to current and past insecticides. Weeds and pathogens that are resistant to herbicides and fungicides that we currently have. We have witnessed the eradication of the biggest pest that cotton has ever had. We have witnessed the adaptation of herbicide-resistant crops and insect-resistant traits in cotton along with higher yielding varieties in all crops.
We have seen adaptation of the producer to be able to farm large acres many miles away from his shop or headquarters. The movement of agriculture into the future is simply a change for the better by everyone involved. I am proud of the past and embrace the future of agriculture. I can say thanks to Roger Carter, Grady Coburn, Harold Lambert, Ray Young and Charles Denver for showing, sharing and educating my generation of consultants on what it was all about.
Thanks also to the Pirani, Fogleman, Helms, Stuckey, Baioni and Carlson families for giving a young kid a chance to be a part of your farming operations for the past 20 years. Thank you to my parents Eddy and Linda Farr for giving me the guidance and life lessons that I have learned and cherish today. I only hope and pray that some of those lessons I have learned over the years will get passed down to the next generation.
– Chuck Farr, Crawfordsville, Ark.