Blank slate comes with lot of opportunities

Something about this computer screen reminds me of January.

It is, or was, a blank page, which sometimes seems like an insurmountable challenge—a whole page of nothingness that must be filled, but with what? Reflections on the past holiday season? Observations on the state of my bank account? New Year’s resolutions that I’ll break before Groundhog Day? Don’t think so.

I’m choosing to see opportunities.  It’s about to get busy.  I’m looking forward to the second annual Red River Crops Conference later this month in Childress, Texas, and expecting that two-day meeting to be as informative and useful as the inaugural session was last year.

February, never my favorite month for reasons better left alone at this time, brings B.I.G., the Blacklands Income Growth Conference in Waco, and in early March I plan on attending No-till Oklahoma, always an excellent program in Norman. The Oklahoma peanut industry puts on a fine conference and expo in mid- to late March up at Lone Wolf, always an interesting place to spend a day or two.

I want to get down to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in late winter or early spring, before the heat and humidity become oppressive and while crops are beginning to show some promise. I have a note to check over into Northeast Texas on early wheat progress, which, according to sources, is off to a good start.

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I need to get back up to the High Plains pretty soon and over into Oklahoma to check in with my good friend Randy Boman on cotton acreage prospects. I’d like to trek up into North Central Oklahoma to look at some wheat and maybe a few canola fields. I have observed a farm in the Southeast corner of Oklahoma for several years—usually on weekends on my way to a fishing hole—that seems like a good place to stop and chat with whoever manages it. It’s bottom land and just looks like a productive piece of ground.

I’m looking forward to visiting farmers I’ve never interviewed before and checking in with a few that have graced these pages a time or two but always offer fresh insights into Southwest agriculture.

I hope to write a bit less about how dry it is and a lot less about how low commodity prices have fallen and a bit more about prospects of good crops and profitable markets. I sometimes get a bit overly optimistic, but one can always dream.

I expect 2015 to be no less hectic, no less challenging and no less rewarding than is usually the case for a farm writer privileged to work in the Southwest.

And I expect to fill a lot of blank pages by this time next year.

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