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A look back at some of my favorite interviews for 2020.

Shelley E. Huguley, Editor

December 31, 2020

2 Min Read
Shelley E. Huguley

Recently, I laid out 19 of the 21 Southwest Farm Press issues from this past year on my office floor. Seeing each of the faces, the families, the topics that make each issue unique, reminds me of why I love my job. What a privilege to meet producers and visit their farms, or interview specialists and ag industry folks or feature a young person from across the Southwest and tell their story.  

I especially enjoy capturing those people in photographs or video. I love how a photo gives the written word a face. Photos are powerful storytellers. 

See, Reflecting on 2020 through cover pages of SWFP


Some of my favorites from 2020? Emily Branson. She's the college-aged artist featured in the Aug. 6 issue. I traveled to the Texas Rolling Plains to interview two producers about their 2020 cotton crop and was introduced to Emily after I left the first farm, headed to the second. Emily was in downtown Roby painting a cotton mural on the side of her parent's building as a tribute to her late grandfather and to the commodity that supports her community. I was drawn to her confidence, talent and her why. 

Another favorite? Richard Gaona's story about his father, a Mexican immigrant becoming a U.S. citizen and Texas landowner, featured in our Oct. 1 issue. A hard work ethic that began when Richard's father was a young man, changed the trajectory of his life and the generations that followed. His story exemplifies the importance of mentors. Both Richard and his father had men who came along side of them and helped them to continue to succeed. 

It's always a highlight to honor our Peanut Efficiency and High Cotton winners, along with their families. Every day farmers across this nation do an amazing job producing our food and fiber, so it's exciting when we get to celebrate a special few.  

Harvest is another favorite. In the fall and winter issues, I featured sorghum, corn, cotton, sunflower and black-eyed pea harvest. I enjoyed covering harvest from the cab of the combine or the stripper or standing in the field. 

The leadership article featured in this issue also warrants mention. It's easy to only see the agriculture that's out our front door. These leadership programs take men and women from all facets of agriculture and expose them to agriculture statewide, nationally and internationally, expanding their perspective, knowledge and network. They prepare them to make decisions on behalf of agriculture, ultimately you and me.  

The hardest but most heartfelt story? Capturing Tony Dill's final harvest in the Dec. 3 issue. What an amazing act of humanity as the farming community rallied around Tony's family following his death.  

While I don't know whose faces will fill the issues of 2021, I look forward to meeting you on the turnrow and hearing your story. Thank you for reading. Thank you for talking. Here's to 2021!    

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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