Farm Progress

But what I struggle with is how it competes for attention with my family and me.

Shelley E. Huguley, Editor

November 3, 2017

3 Min Read
An afternoon in the country with family.

Many of us would probably say we have a love/hate relationship with technology. I know I do. Right now, it’s saving me time over a type-writer as I write this commentary. It allows me the privilege to work from home and to communicate with my boss in Tennessee. Its apps enable me to keep up with family and friends and often know more about them than I need to and vice versa! It puts me in contact with my children and them with me in a split second, especially in an emergency. On those evenings during harvest, when I’m trying to locate my husband and his crew in the dark harvesting a field I’ve never been to, it allows my husband to give me step-by-step directions as he sees my headlights in the distance and guides me to the nearest turn row in the field. Those are some of the reasons I “love” technology.

But what I struggle with is how it competes for attention with my family and me. It beckons my son to the “television room” to play his PS4. It draws my daughter into videos featuring other little girls her age opening surprise eggs, and if you haven’t experienced these yet, don’t rush to YouTube too quickly.  It calls out to my teenager to see the latest posts about who’s cute, who’s dating and where people are and having “so much fun.” And yes, technology even sucks in my husband and me, more than I’d like to admit, sometimes sacrificing eye-contact with one of our kids to immediately respond to a message that for whatever reason feels more pressing at the time.   


Dad teaches his daughter how to shoot a .22 rifle on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

None of these are bad but certainly distracting at times and filling empty space that I want to be spent talking, laughing or just being. So, when we have a fall Sunday, like we did recently, when we found ourselves, after church and Sunday lunch, in the field behind the house, I’m both thankful and a bit saddened that we don’t do it more often.

Technology, while it’s good, will never replace a daddy with his arms around his youngest daughter as he teaches her how to hold, aim and shoot a .22 rifle — one he bought years ago hoping he would one day have kids to share it with. The action of a PS4 game will never compare with the stillness of a country day or the smell of surrounding crops, while my son holds that same .22 in his hands, aiming at clay targets resting against clumps of grass while his dad instructs him and reinforces the rules of gun safety.

And as for the backdrop of cotton fields with a picturesque sky and the round-bales used as targets for shooting my teenager’s bow and arrow, Instagram’s got nothing on you.  How thankful I am for the country, a place to escape behind the house that doesn’t have to be plugged in, posted, or “liked” and where the only price of admission is our time.

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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