Conservation and family values are important to Texas cotton farmer

As a fourth generation farmer in Roby, Texas, Jeff Posey is devoted to family values and land stewardship.

A Fisher County cotton farmer and president of the Rolling Plains Cotton Growers Association, Posey manages a rotation program with cotton, wheat and grain sorghum. He’s doing all he can to conserve water and other resources while keeping yields at a profitable level.

Last year he farmed 780 acres of dryland and 550 acres of irrigated cotton.

With a limited water supply, he’s a strong proponent of drip irrigation.

“Water is extremely important here,” Posey said. “We have to use irrigation water very carefully and drip irrigation helps us do that. We try to make sure we get every benefit from the water we apply.”

He also uses strip tillage for more precise planting and fertilizer applications.

He planted Roundup Ready Flex and Bollgard cotton varieties in 2008, and averaged 440 pounds of lint cotton per acre on dryland fields. Irrigated fields averaged 1,360 pounds of lint cotton per acre and yields ranged from 875 to 1,475 pounds per acre.

Fisher County is well-known for cotton fields stretching over the level, highly-productive plain. Even though Posey grows wheat and grain sorghum, he says cotton is his staple and will remain so for a long time.

“Cotton has been good to our family for four generations. It is a stable, high-yielding crop that works well for us in the soils we farm.

“With new varieties, we know cotton provides good yields even with drought problems. We also reduce weed problems and soil-borne diseases.”

“In Texas, how to utilize water that is becoming scarcer for all Texans will have a great impact on farming,” Posey said. “This is dry country. We are suffering from a drought right now. Increasing demands for water from cities and industry, along with continuous dry weather, means farmers have to be active in deciding how water will be utilized in the future.”

Nationally, both Posey and Karin Kuykendall, the association's executive vice president, keep a watchful eye on the farm bill and how its provisions will be used.

“Many aspects of the new law haven't been implemented,” he said. “We are staying in touch with our congressional representatives to see what will happen.

“We also work with the Farm Bureau. All farmers must work together to make sure agriculture is recognized for its role in feeding and clothing people around the world.”

Posey has been an active farmer for 26 years. The involvement of his family in the farm is important to him.

Two sons, both currently enrolled in Lubbock-based universities, are majoring in agricultural education and agricultural business. Posey is looking forward to them becoming the fifth generation of Poseys to farm.

Both sons work together farming 500 acres to pay their college tuition, Posey said.

When Posey was growing up, his father coached high school sports and farmed. His father is still active in the family farm.

“We call him our farmhand with the checkbook,” Posey said, laughing.

He appreciates his father's mentorship when he began farming. “He believed people work better when they are left alone to make their own decisions. It was a great learning experience for me.”

TAGS: Cotton
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