Much like the Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities, the year 2020 saw plenty of extremes. The silver lining of the year was tremendous sorghum export sales to China and strengthened prices. On the other hand, whether it was COVID-19, the divisiveness of the election or getting a group of farmers comfortable working on Zoom, this is a year I, for one, am glad to put in the rearview mirror.
As farmers, we’re optimistically looking forward to next year, focusing on the things that will help our operation remain sustainable. Like most of you, my farm is not a monoculture. I operate a multi-crop operation between Lubbock and Amarillo, Texas, with cows and stockers in the mix. We are currently dealing with extended severe drought, loss of irrigation water, increasing input costs and uncertain government farm programs. I have seen all of these before and probably will again, but I know I’m not alone in this effort to hunker down and roll with the punches. It’s a daunting task, but one we as farmers can accomplish.
I want my farm to remain sustainable for the future, and as we address this increasingly important topic, it relates to broader climate discussions and policy initiatives for the coming year. We, as farmers, have work to do beyond our own innate desire to be sustainable.
For generations we have striven to leave a better place for our children, help our rural ag communities continue to thrive, and hopefully leave the small piece of earth we have been blessed to tend better when we pass it onto the next hands. We are so few in number, yet so vital to this nation’s economy, and that is our story of sustainability we must tell better!
Sorghum has a great sustainability story to tell, as well. It is a tremendous asset on our farms because it is water conserving, tolerant of wide climate variables, favorable for many untapped food uses and products, a great sequester of carbon in our soils, and, as I am writing this column, the best basis to other commodities I have ever experienced.
We have a tremendous asset in the NSP staff and their resources for information and assistance. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team if you have a need or an idea. We have an opportunity to educate and assist new Members of Congress and the Administration that need facts and have a need to understand the importance of agriculture, and specifically sorghum, to a sustainable future.
NSP’s past leadership has left large shoes to fill. I will do my best to uphold that standard, but it can only be achieved through a team effort and everyone’s willingness to step into whatever role God has prepared for you. As I end this column and we begin 2021, another Dickens’ line comes to mind. In the words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us, everyone!”