How does my job support modern agriculture in America?
“I believe in the future of farming, with a faith born not of words but of deeds…..” I first heard those beginning words of the FFA Creed in Freshman Vocational Agriculture at my high school in Louisiana in the fall of 1967. Little did I know then that it would fuel my desire to enter a field of study and vocation that has lasted over forty-five years, thirty-one of which has been in the crop protection business.
As you reach my age, you begin to think back on all the technologies that you have either helped launch or seen adopted through your years in the business. Incorporated herbicides, over-the-top broadleaf and grass herbicides, pyrethroid insecticides, BXN System (the 1st genetically modified cottonseed), BT Cotton, Roundup Ready crops, plant growth regulators, safe and effective fungicides…. The list goes on forever.
Each of these technologies were introduced and adopted, some more slowly than others, but the key to each technology’s success was the company representative who promoted, evaluated, and educated the grower, dealer and consultant on how the product could be used as part of his crop management program. Becoming a credible source of information in this business has always required the building of rapport with your customers. I feel very fortunate that I have had and continue to have the opportunity to work in an area where growers are looking to improve their management processes in order to be more cost effective.
In 1967, corn growers were seeking to break the 200 bushel plateau. Now, 300 bushel corn is possible. Soybean yields in Mississippi were once less than 20 bushels per acre. Now they are approaching 100 bushels on well managed fields. Cotton yields of 1 Ton per acre are becoming quite common as compared to 600 pound yields of the 1950’s.
If approximately 2% of the U.S. population is and will be responsible for the production of enough food and fiber to sustain the population not only here but abroad, then it will take a continued effort on the part of all of us who are a part of this wonderful and exciting business