I started working as a writer for the Delta Farm Press in 2019. Although having experience in writing on agriculture topics, I had a lot to learn, as I am sure several of my earliest interviewees can attest to. "What is this called again? I don't know much about this topic. Can you explain further?" These became common phrases as I got out in the field.
Luckily, I had a few great mentors guiding me along the way. Early on, Ron Smith and Ed Phillips showed me the ropes. I have also had the opportunity to work closely with and learn from Brad Haire, Brent Murphree, Shelley Huguley, Ginger Rowsey, John McCurry, and Sandy Perry.
I can remember the first month on the job, taking a road trip with the Producer Information Exchanges (PIE) tour. The PIE tour hits several different stops throughout the Delta, and producers come to exchange ideas and information to help improve their farming operations. The week was a whirlwind of activity as Ron and I followed the tour, taking a lot of pictures and notes for future stories. Those five days taught me a great deal about farming, hearing from those in the field day in and day out.
Every time I have met a farmer, I have learned something new. I have also gotten to hear people's stories, my favorite part of the job. Sitting around a table in a shop, house, or office, I have had the opportunity to hear how farms have been passed from generation to generation. I have heard comeback stories from farmers who have suffered losses from flooding or crop damage from storms or hurricanes. I have heard how farmers discovered ways to improve efficiency on the farm through new tools and technology or how they increased their yield using cover crops and no-till practices.
After two years with the Delta Farm Press, in light of a new job opportunity, I am saying farewell. I want to give my sincere thanks to all those who have emailed me words of encouragement through the years, saying they liked reading my articles or thanking me for covering a certain topic. I want to also give my special thanks to all the farmers, crop consultants, agriculture marketing advisors, Extension agents, and specialists who I have interviewed for countless articles.
I will be continuing work in agriculture-related communications, working for Mississippi State University for the Fish Innovation Lab, which is a Feed the Future Innovation Lab. These innovation labs work to develop research to provide important information, regarding challenges in agriculture and food security around the world. Their top priority is helping to provide solutions for food insecurity in impoverished communities.
Thank you all again for the years of memories of riding around farms, photographing crops, and hearing farm stories. Thank you, Delta Farm Press, for being a part of my story.