I’ve always taken advantage of the opportunity to wander. The Mid-South is a great place to do that, unfortunately the last six months have put a damper on my ability to get out.
But recently, more travel opportunities have become available and a couple of weeks ago I drove down into Southern Mississippi. Over the years I’ve gained great appreciation for Mississippi, its agriculture and places of interest.
The Delta was my introduction to Mississippi ag, through cotton mostly, but interaction with leadership groups and research done in Stoneville increased my appreciation for what goes on there. For about 20 years my family worked with cotton breeders out of Stoneville on our own farm.
It's been in the last five years that I've been able to interact with growers and researchers outside of the Delta and broaden my knowledge of what goes on outside of the flood plain of the big river.
On my trip to southern Mississippi I was chatting with a grower about nothing in particular when he mentioned using chicken litter on his cotton. He said he thought he wasn't getting the nitrogen he expected from the application and how it might be due to ammonia mitigation that was taking place at the chicken farm.
I've spent time on chicken farms and was able to carry on a reasonable discussion with him.
When I finished speaking with the grower, I went to the internet and immediately pulled up several papers from Mississippi State on chicken litter and the properties therein.
Over the years I have learned to rely on the university researchers in Mississippi to provide accessible updates on most of the ag related subjects I look into.
On this last journey I also spoke with board members of a financial institution and visited the farms of growers who have introduced cotton in a big way into their operation after the area moved away from it for many years.
And that's one of the things I love. While Mississippi has a long, rich history of agriculture production, its growers are always tweaking things and moving their operations forward with advances from public and private sources.
With a good wander I can pick up information on crops, see operations that are trying new things, visit growers I've known for years and of course get some really good food.
A few years ago I drove up to a farmer in the Delta that was looking at what he had just discovered was a clump of glyphosate resistant pig weed.
I asked, "What's up?" He shook his head and said he didn't know what to do about the weeds. Then he went in and chopped them out.
A couple of seasons later I went by the field and didn't see a single pig weed. He'd figured it out. That's one of the reasons I wander.