What is in this article?:
• "On our hill land, for non-irrigated production, I don’t think there’s a better crop than cotton," says Oxford, Miss. grower Don Waller, who at 81 is looking forward to another crop this year.
• "With no-till, Roundup Ready technology, and stacked trait varieties, I think we can grow it here in the hills cheaper than anywhere in Mississippi. For me, it’s by far the least risky crop option."
AT AGE 81, Don Waller is looking forward to another year of growing cotton on his farm in north Mississippi.
Timber market in doldrums
In addition to his 850 acres of cotton, Waller has 1,000 acres in pines and hardwoods, and some pasture land that he rents to a neighbor.
“The timber market has been terrible since the housing crisis hit,” he says. “Pulpwood prices have been decent recently, and I’ve done some thinning here and there, but I’m trying to hold off on any logging sales until the market recovers.”
Waller, who says he has been involved with Farm Bureau all his farming life, considers it “a great privilege” to have served as president of the Mississippi organization from 1988-1996.
“It was a great honor to be chosen by the membership to lead the organization. It gave me the opportunity to work with a lot of really outstanding people at the state and national levels (I was on the board of the American Farm Bureau Federation), to work with a lot of the key leaders in Washington, and to travel internationally — China, Israel, Germany, Austria, and many other places. I kept a suitcase packed all the time.
“Farm Bureau’s Farm Families of Mississippi promotion campaign, which has been under way the last couple of years and is co-sponsored by a lot of individuals and businesses in the state, is an excellent program to help create awareness of the importance of agriculture.
“The public now is so removed from any connection to agriculture, we need to do everything we can to make them aware of how good we in the U.S. have it in terms of bountiful food and fiber.”
He also is appreciative of all the people he met and worked with when his brother, the late Bill Waller, served as Mississippi’s governor from 1972 to 1976.
As he moves into his ninth decade, Waller says he’s happy that he’s able to continue farming. He remarried in December 2011 and says he and his wife, Mary Lee, are now “just living the quiet life.
“I’ve got some great farmer neighbors, and we’re always ready to help each other. If I need something, they help me; if they need something, I help them. There are just no better folks than farmers.”
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