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A new year: opportunities for trust, bonding

Silence, countless photos, mornings with my farmer and mud between our toes...

Shelley E. Huguley, Editor

December 29, 2018

2 Min Read
A little fun while checking nozzles.

Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone — another harvest, another Christmas, and my first full year at Farm Press.
When I Iook back on my year, I’ve conducted countless interviews, probably taken over 1,000 photos (I’m a little photo crazy), and was more aware of what was happening on our own farm than I’ve been in our 21 years of marriage.

Maybe it was because I was taking photos from the time my farmer planted his first seed in the ground until the corn was cut for silage and the cotton stripped. Or maybe it was conversations my farmer and I had — talks he probably never imagined he’d have with this city girl, as I continue to learn.

My favorite moments with him this past year were checking sprinklers Saturday and Sunday mornings. In the past, I might occasionally jump in the pickup and go. But this year, it was most weekends. I would grab my first of many cups of coffee and my camera and we’d start at the East Place, all the while watching the sunrise, flushing wildlife as we drove the turnrows, and having uninterrupted conversations. Sometimes silence.

Another favorite was working with our kids on the farm, whether it was servicing or renozzling sprinklers or running the sprinkler panel while my farmer and our son dug out a stuck sprinkler. The morning might begin with grumbling, but by the time we got to the field, we were all friends again. There’s something about being in your daddy’s field, your toes sinking in the mud while you check nozzles, void of the distraction of electronics, that creates space for conversations and life.

I’m not sure my kids would describe our time together as “special,” but they will someday, right? But what I can tell you is that we were all more invested in the 2018 crop than we’ve ever been — something I think my farmer would tell you meant a lot to him and hopefully gave the kids perspective and a glimpse into the countless decisions our farmer makes and the equipment and time it takes to produce our nation’s food and fiber.

I attended countless conferences, hearing guest speakers talk about the farm economy and the 2019 outlook — topics that were not only difficult to hear but even harder to write
about at times because they hit so close to home. I don’t know what 2019 will hold, but what I do know is that God is faithful. And just like we’ve trusted him for the last 21 years,
we’ll trust him for the days ahead.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to try to grow in my understanding of, and write about, farming and its complexities. And much to my kids' dismay, I’ll be on the lookout for 
opportunities to get mud between our toes in the new year.

About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife, she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such as Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

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