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Parking the JD CS770 for JenniSu

Shelley E. Huguley swfp-shelley-huguley-eddie-smith-jdcs770-10.jpg
Eddie Smith, Floydada, Texas
Marriage and farming have a lot of similarities.

Last month John Deere contacted me about covering the new John Deere CS770 cotton stripper running in a field near Floydada, Texas. The producers who own, run and test-drive John Deere strippers are father and son Eddie and Eric Smith. Eric and their farm foreman Clint Bingham run the machines during harvest.  

I agreed to come and watch. I don't miss an opportunity to cover harvest. It's my favorite time of year!  

When my farmer learned I would be covering this story, he asked if he could come along. He's an equipment junkie. But what farmer isn't? So, we headed to Lorenzo to Hurst Farm Supply where we met up with the John Deere folks and visited with owner and CEO Joe Hurst, a well-known and respected dealer in our parts.  

As we drove to the Smith Farm, the highway was flanked with fields of open cotton, dryland and irrigated, awaiting harvest.  

See, New cotton stripper reminiscent of grower's two-row stripper

When I prepared for this story, I told myself, this is about equipment. But rarely do I ever allow a conversation to just be about an object. I want to know about the people. It just puts everything else into perspective. Gives a face to the object. You may have the best cotton stripper in the world but if you don't have the producer to run it, you're out of luck! 

As I visited with Eddie in the stripper cab, I probed him about what he liked and didn't like about the stripper and how it compared to the last model, the JD CS690. After we talked shop, I asked him how long he's been farming. In his calm, steady demeaner, he replied, "This will be my 48th cotton crop." 

He then went on to tell me that he and his wife JenniSu just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. 50 years and 48 of that farming. JenniSu must be quite a woman! Being a farmer's wife is not for the faint at heart! He confessed that often farmers are the worst about celebrating their anniversaries, as they had yet to "really celebrate" because it falls in the summertime, June 25. "I always wondered, how did we get married in June?" he said. 

See, 2021 crop: A breath of fresh air

I could relate. I told him that when my farmer proposed to me in a field of open cotton (he placed my ring in a boll), after I said yes, I told him I wanted a summer wedding. His response? "Not unless you want to spend our honeymoon on the tractor," rather than in the Bahamas. We married in February.  

Longevity in marriage and farming strikes something deep inside of me. What a testimony. Both require a ton of work, sacrifice, suffering, risk, joy, time, love, investment, patience and both reap a harvest. Both are a gift to the generations that follow. 

Congratulations, Eddie and JenniSu on 50 years. Now, Eddie, park that JD CS770 and go celebrate a half-century of marriage with your precious JenniSu.  

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