Out of the Office, Into the Field
Six months ago, I joined the staff of Cotton Grower after working three years in the newspaper business.
March 2, 2009
Six months ago, I joined the staff of Cotton Grower after working three years in the newspaper business. People say time flies when you are having fun, but when you are working, time goes by at warp speed. Just a month ago I was moving into a strange office that didn’t yet feel like home.
Half a year later, all that has changed. I am getting into the groove of a monthly production cycle and immersing myself in the cotton industry. I organized my office to suit my tastes and even hung a few pictures on the wall. One of the pictures is a framed newspaper clipping from the August 16, 1962 edition of The Oxford Eagle, the newspaper for Oxford, MS – home of my dear Ole Miss Rebels.
On the front page of this newspaper is a picture of my great-grandfather, James Hamilton, standing next to a bale of cotton. The headline reads: “Jim Hamilton Scores Again.” For more than 20 years, my great-grandfather held the record for producing the first-ginned bale of cotton in Lafayette County. I must admit that makes me proud, as does working for an industry with so much historical significance and heritage. The cotton industry is more than a business; it is a family.
Since I started with Cotton Grower, I have been learning more and more each day – talking with growers, reading market reports and listening to advice from industry veterans. But I have always been someone who learns best by “doing.” First-hand experience is almost always the best teacher. Believing in that philosophy, I have decided that for me to truly get a sense of the industry, I need to grow some cotton of my own. So that’s what I’m going to do. It’s time to put down my pen and pick up the plow.
This year, I am going to grow a small plot of cotton – about a half acre – at my family’s farm in Byhalia, MS. It’s not going to be scientific, and I don’t expect record yields. But on my journey, I hope to learn a little more about cotton and meet some nice folks along the way. Each month, I will chronicle my experiences in a monthly Cotton Grower column, and I will keep a blog to update my progress weekly. It should be a fun ride, and I welcome any suggestions, comments or advice. Until next month, see you in the field …