OK, I have a bit of news. I will be taking on some new duties, which will mean spending less time in the Southwest.
As of Oct. 1, Forrest Laws, senior content director for Farm Press and editor of Delta Farm Press, retired, and I am gingerly stepping into those positions. I have no illusions that I will replace Forrest — I don’t think anyone can. He has been a presence in Sunbelt agriculture for almost 40 years; we’ve worked together for most of those four decades; and I will miss his wise counsel, his standard of excellence, and, mostly, his friendship, which I know will endure. I will probably wear out his patience asking for guidance on one thorny issue or another.
For the time being, I will continue to oversee Southwest Farm Press as editor, but will turn over much of the writing to a new staff writer. Look for an announcement soon. I’ll still travel to the Southwest, covering meetings, visiting some farms on occasion, and keeping tabs on a lot of good friends I have met over the past 18 years.
Those 18 years, by the way, stand as the most rewarding of my 40 years as a farm writer. I have been blessed to have had a readership who appreciates what I try to do for Southwest farmers and ranchers — tell their stories in the most honest way I know how. I’m not sure I always succeeded in that goal, but folks keep telling me that they appreciate the effort. I appreciate that they trust me to write about their struggles, their successes, and their plans for next season. I’ve often remarked to folks I’ve interviewed, as we drove across their farms or ranches, that it’s hard to believe I’m getting paid to do something I enjoy so much. I do cash the checks, though. Well, my wife does.
I will be spending a good bit of time in the Delta, and I look forward to exploring some new territory and learning about some new ways to grow food and fiber. I am anxious to get on some of those Delta farms, meet farmers, who, I suspect, will be a lot like the folks on the Texas High Plains, The Brazos Bottoms, the Rio Grande Valley, or those up in Southwest Oklahoma, on into the Panhandle, and over to New Mexico. I’ve met many of the Delta folks over the years at Beltwide Cotton Conferences and other meetings, and I look forward to writing about their farms.
I’ll try to let you know when I’m back in the Southwest. I likely will feel some brisket calling to me...