As I mentioned in a recent commentary, we have been in Texas for 15 years. In that time, I have made dozens of trips to the High Plains. The region features a diverse agricultural industry, including “the world’s biggest cotton patch.” I also know South Plains farmers who are proficient in grain production—corn, wheat, grain sorghum—and excellent peanut farmers and livestock producers.
Lubbock’s Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center and Texas Tech house some of the best ag scientist in the country.
So it’s a productive place for a farm writer to spend some time. I have other favorite places—Southwest Oklahoma; Stillwater, Okla.; Corpus Christi, Central and Northeast Texas; Las Cruces, N. M.; and just about anywhere I can find a successful farmer willing to talk about raising crops or livestock.
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On occasion, when she has time, my wife accompanies me on some of my trips. Until recently, however, Pat had never been to the High Plains. It’s been on her list. My travel and her schedule simply never meshed—until last weekend when we accepted an invitation from my friend Dale Swinburn and his delightful wife, Cheryl, to come to Lubbock for a visit and to attend the Texas Tech football game—the annual Cotton Day at the stadium.
I think Pat was impressed. The hospitality was unprecedented. Dale and Cheryl treated us to a wonderful football weekend spoiled only by a Red Raider loss. We ate well—maybe too well—we met some wonderful people, one of whom recognized me from Facebook. We enjoyed a diverse group of dinner companions and talked about football—of course—families, fly fishing and the prospects for a good harvest season.
We enjoyed tailgating and visiting some of the many cotton industry exhibits installed around the stadium to remind football fans of the economic contributions cotton makes to the region. Several cotton industry representatives were acknowledged on the field during a lapse in the action. I will not begin naming them since I’m sure to leave one out, but they are the movers and shakers in the High Plains cotton industry. The big screen featured cotton promos, and the industry received well deserved recognition for its role in the economy.
I was impressed by the masked rider on the magnificent black horse leading the team onto the field. If that doesn’t get your blood pumping you need a checkup. It’s a long and revered tradition, one of the best I’ve seen in college athletics.
I was pleased that people told Pat nice things about me. I know it was hard. She probably doesn’t believe any of it. But thanks for the effort.
Dale drove us around the beautiful Texas Tech Campus, took us to the Bayer Museum of Agriculture (more about that later), and gave us a tour of Lubbock, including quaint, lovely cottages and upscale neighborhoods.
We capped off the visit with a quick detour to Palo Duro Canyon. That’s another place I had not visited since I’m usually looking for farm stories when I’m in the area. It’s an impressive natural wonder worth another visit sometime.
We can’t thank Dale and Cheryl enough for their gracious hospitality. I meet some good people in my line of work.