I believe this is our first time featuring cotton farmers, next to a desert no less. Suzie tells wonderful stories about her farm at Kissed a Farmer
1. Tell a little about you and your operation.
Daniel & Suzie Wilde are cotton farmers in West Central Texas near San Angelo. Our farms lie on the edge of the largest desert in North America, the Chihuahuan Desert. We farm 700 acres of mostly cotton with no irrigation, “dryland cotton.” We also farm some wheat and grain sorghum for rotation. We had a small cattle herd but had to sell them off due to the drought last year. Most of Daniel’s farms have been in his family for many years, some up to a century. He does all the work himself except during harvest time. I have been a crop insurance agent for over 20 years and I am the daughter of a second generation cotton ginner.
2. What made you want to start your blog?
I started my Facebook page, Kissed A Farmer, as part of an effort to share the story of agriculture through social media in conjunction with the Texas Farm Bureau Texas Agriculture Challenges Team (TACT.) Once I started that, I soon saw that I wanted an outlet for more details and information than I was able to put on a Facebook status update. I wanted to share more about the methods and practices we use out here that are unique to this part of the world. That’s when I started my Kissed A Farmer blog. I have been asked about the name “Kissed A Farmer” and why would I choose that. I tell our story from the eyes of a farm wife who doesn’t work on nor live on the farm. I kiss my farmer good bye in the morning and kiss him hello at night. I help out when I can, but mostly I watch with awe the amazing things he does out there called dryland cotton farming and share the story from my unique perspective.
3. What has been the biggest surprise since you started? or something you didn’t expect:
The biggest surprise to me has been that most people don’t realize there are so many crops grown without any irrigation. We only get about 12 inches of rain during our growing season and after reading that, one man commented that what we were doing was “extraordinary.” Out here next to the Chihuahuan Desert, we go about our lives, hoping for one more inch of rain and one less day of 100 degree heat. Having been here all my life, I was used to the extremes of our weather and the things we do to battle it or take advantage of it. But learning that others are so fascinated by it, I now have a wonderful new appreciation of what we do.
4. What is your favorite post and why?
Serendipity is a post about the long awaited approval of a fungicide that will help us control Cotton Root Rot. To get this product is next to a miracle for the producers who have fought this problem with their cotton for over 100 years. All of our farms lie in an area with a heavy infestation of the fungus. The day Daniel started planting, I left work just to watch the first seed go in the ground using the fungicide. It caused so much excitement in our farming community that for the past 6 months, little else was the topic of conversation at coffee shops and cotton gins. It was a wonderful experience for me to share all this excitement with my readers.
5. What obstacles have you met and how did you overcome them?
The only obstacles I have met is lack of knowledge about effective blogging. I read a lot of what I consider great blogs to see what is working for them. I also visit sites and blogs about blogging to get as many tips and ideas as possible. I have attended some seminars and presentations on the subject also.