Young Mississippi farmer Chris Lively, Lively Farms, Coahoma County, took advantage of clear skies May 14 and began planting Cocodrie rice. Chris, along with his father Gerald Lively, run a tight operation — 4,700 acres of corn, soybeans, rice, wheat, and pecans. The Livelys will plant 800-1,000 rice acres; 800 acres of corn; and the rest in soybeans (plus 500 acres of winter wheat and 110 acres of permanent pecans).
Peanut planting began May 9 for Omega Farms, Clarksdale, Miss., and farm manager Brandon Walton. Beating out approaching rain, Walton planted 180 acres with an 09B Georgia variety. Omega Farms, an approximately 15,000 acre operation, will have 900 acres of peanuts in 2013.
Cotton is more than a wonder fiber. After cotton is plucked from fields and packed in gins — cottonseed is only just beginning to be processed. Cottonseed value continues to climb, and at Delta Oil Mill, Jonestown, Miss., managed by Scott Middleton, Jr., cottonseed processing has been rolling since 1942.
At Massey Planting Co., Rudyard, Miss., a tillered cover crop resulted in March wheat burning for Ellington and Turner Massey. The father-and-son team planted a wheat cover crop in late September 2012 in preparation for corn, but following an unusual warm spell and possibly too much nitrogen in the ground, the wheat tillered early with an explosion of shoot growth.
With planting dates closing fast, farmers are preparing equipment for fieldwork. The winter of 2012-2013 has been mild, with temperatures rarely below freezing. Here are a series of Delta agriculture images from late fall through the mild winter.
As peanut acreage continues to spread across the Delta, the Clint Williams Co.’s Clarksdale, Miss., facility processed 11,000 acres of peanuts in its first year of operation. Glen Moore, buying point manager, oversees a 26,000-ton storage warehouse at the Clarksdale site, in addition to 100 drying trailers. After drying, Moore ships the peanuts to Madill, Okla., where they are further processed for candy and peanut butter.
America is blessed with the most productive farmers and agricultural workers in the world. As Thanksgiving approaches, the United States has been graced with another year of plenty: food, fuel and fiber — all produced through the effort of American farm workers. Agriculture is the backbone of America: From bread on our tables to the shirts on our backs, U.S. farmers are responsible for feeding and clothing a nation of 310 million people. Here are a few of the faces whose toil made it happen in 2012.
Scott and Graydon Flowers, Wolf Lake Farms, Mattson, Miss., believe their 2012 cotton crop may be their best ever. They have been farming together for eight years and attribute a fine cotton crop to variety selections, irrigation and favorable rains. “It’s been a good growing year all around with timely rains around the end of June and into July 4,” says Scott. “With new varieties pushing yield and irrigation absolutely essential, we hope to hit close to 3 bales per acre.” They grow 95 percent of their cotton on irrigated land.
Rodgers Planting Co., Clarksdale, Miss., had equipment running to bring in its first ever peanut crop. Rain kept combines sidelined for a few days, but farm manager Clint Walton had combines rolling at the first opportunity. Rodgers Planting Co. will ship the peanut harvest to Birdsong Peanuts, Aberdeen, Miss.