Leaving his Wakefield, Va., family and farm for a stint in Afghanistan tugged at both the heartstrings and purse strings of Lt. Colonel Henry Goodrich.

The long-time U.S. Army citizen soldier couldn’t avoid some of the heartaches of leaving his wife and two sons, but he had no worries about leaving his 480 acre farm in the hands of neighbors Paul Rogers Jr. and Paul Rogers III.

“We didn’t count on the drought last year or Hurricane Irene this year, but other than that farming Henry’s land was good for our farming operation. And, I think it worked out well for Henry, too,” says Paul Rogers Jr.

“When Henry found out for sure he was going to Afghanistan, he approached me and my son about farming his land for two cropping seasons while he was gone. Henry has farmed by himself for the past few years, and I know it was a hard decision to turn his farm over to someone else,” Rogers adds.

Though he left his farm to the Rogers father and son team, Goodrich didn’t exactly leave farming. He went to Afghanistan as part of an agriculture team sent there to help the Afghans become better acquainted with modern agriculture.

Everyone on the team returned home safely and by all accounts it was a success story bound to pay dividends in future years.

Likewise, leaving his farm to the Rogers for a couple of growing seasons is likely to pay dividends in future years. They planted cotton on most of the land — a crop that is not a part of Goodrich’s normal rotation.

Goodrich has for years been a top peanut producer in Virginia. Putting two years of cotton in his rotation is an ideal one for cleaning up nematodes and other pests that can build up over the years in a peanut-grain rotation.

“Henry has irrigation on about 75 percent of his farm, so it worked out really well for us last year in the drought — some of our best cotton was on his land. I don’t think Henry will start growing cotton,” Rogers says.

“With his irrigation and corn at $7 a bushel and peanuts over $800 a ton, I don’t think he could justify getting into the cotton business,” the Virginia grower adds.

Farming in partnership was not a new thing for the Rogers. In addition to their farming operation, they farm in partnership with Brent Lowe. “Our arrangement with Brent has worked out well for both of us. It’s a give and take lifestyle, and for those wanting to try it, they better pick their partners well,” the elder Rogers says.

“When you get in a situation when a weather front is coming and you have your crop to pick, he has his crop to pick and you have your partnership crop to pick, it’s a tough situation. But, you just put your friendship and your partnership first and do the right thing,” he adds.