Sunday, April 5, 2015

King Cotton and the Cotton Corridor

For all but 3 years of my life, I have lived, worked and went to school within 5 miles of Texas State Highway 87.  This should be named, in my opinion, The Cotton Corridor.  Now partially renamed Interstate 27, Highway 87 cuts through the heart of what was for many years, the Largest Cotton Patch in the World, the High Plains of Texas.  Living on the Cotton Corridor among the endless flat cotton fields of the the High Plains of Texas can tend to give one a singular sense of the world. "Isn't Cotton "King" everywhere," I wondered while growing up in the midst of a sea of white.
Cotton as far as I can see through the window of my Boll Buggy this past season.
Please don't misunderstand, I love ribeyes, pork chops, pototoes, blueberries and corn tortillas!  So all the other farmers and ranchers out there, please just keep calm and farm on!  But when you bleed cottonseed like I do, (and let's face it, I am from Texas,) I can get just a little Texas Cotton proud.  At a large convention I attended this past year, I realized this when I happened to be in line behind two other farmers from another state and they pointed to a group of cowboy hat clad men and said (just a bit snippy,) "Look, the 'Cotton' farmers got here."  I smiled and kind of chuckled to myself, standing just a little taller in my cotton jeans.  I couldn't help myself when the Texas came out in me and I stuck my head around to the side and proudly told them that yes, we were here, and "What little ol' crop do y'all raise?"

There was an article out this week by a well respected ag economist, O. A. Cleveland which stated that 60% of the cotton in the United States will be planted in Texas and half of that will be dryland.  Just in Texas alone, there are usually around 6 to 8 million acres planted to King Cotton.  That's a lot.  And a huge part of those acres are along Highway 87, the Cotton Corridor.  The Farmer I Kiss crosses the Cotton Corridor each morning when he leaves our house in town to drive to work in his cotton fields.  He and the other cotton farmers are busy right now preparing the land all up and down Highway 87, deciding the right seed variety to preorder, how much and when to fertilize, to preorder TopGuard or not, all to try and out smart the arid High Plains or the dry Chihuahuan Desert. 

I have not had a blog for a while, as I have been very busy with a new roll in my life.  I am now The Grand Ma of Cotton Dan Langely.  He arrived in November last year and I am happily watching my son and daughter-in-law raise Cotton Dan, just a half mile West of the Cotton Corridor where he will grow up among the endless fields of white that bear his name, King Cotton.