Wilmeth says he never set out to become a banker. About nine years ago a bank manager who had worked with him on farm loans for several years was impressed with his management ability and asked if he would be interested in working at the bank.

He says he doesn’t exactly specialize, but has a lot of farm customers, and thinks his experience on the farm is an asset to those clients. “They know I farm and that I can appreciate what they go through.

“I enjoy farming and banking — but I sometimes feel a little stretched, especially during planting and harvest. But when emergencies come up, the bank is very understanding and lets me off. I don’t abuse the privilege.”

He says being a good farm manager makes him a better banker.

Variety selection is somewhat geared to his responsibilities at the bank. “I plant FiberMax 9063 and 9180. I know how these varieties grow. When I find something that works I stick with it, since I can’t be out in the field as often as I would like.”

He says the 9063 does well in the few areas where he has wilt. The 9180 is a good fit where water is weaker. “It hangs on in drought.”

Wilmeth says he sometimes feels “stretched too thin” with his work at the bank and his obligations on the farm, but his son Connor, a junior at Texas Tech, is a big help and takes some of the pressure off.

In mid-September, Wilmeth was about a month away from stripping cotton and was looking for yields considerably better than in 2011. He says that was by far the worst year he had ever seen and that folks who farmed in the 1950s likely never saw a year that bad.

“And back then, they had more water available for irrigation.”

rsmith@farmpress.com