A Farmer-The Eternal Optimist

By: Joe Brown Email
By: Joe Brown Email

“What you’ve got to do in this business, I think, is try to make it where the cup’s never half empty. It’s always half full, and the rain that we got back in late August and even with the storm, was beneficial to the pastures, we needed it there, we just hope that we’re able to utilize that and we’re still able to do this another year because we didn’t go broke growing this silly stuff.”

Lee Denena farms in the Brazos Bottom.

“That’s the beauty of what we do and where we do it, I guess. We’re eternal optimists, and we’re optimists from the time we start planting ‘til the end. Again, by not defoliating I was optimistic that the storm wouldn’t be that bad, and I’d still be able to make the rest of my crop up here, and wouldn’t lose that much down there. That was the decision I made. I think it would have been pessimistic, not the wrong decision, to terminate that crop earlier.”

We asked if planting choices were limited for local producers.

“We limit ourselves a lot more than we’re limited by any other factors. My father grew cotton, my grandfather grew cotton, and his grandfather taught him how to grow cotton here. This bottom has grown cotton and done well for so long. I remember hearing Mr. Porter tell Mr. Wilder when he started growing beans, he says you can grow those beans, but beans aren’t what got you here.”

Denena noted that in addition to corn, cotton, and milo, watermelons, soybeans, wheat, oats, and alfalfa are all being grown in our area.

“I just think that we have to honestly put it down on paper and push the pencil and don’t favor one crop because it’s what we like to grow, or what we know how to grow. We may need to learn how to do something else. We certainly need to learn how to do things differently, because this is an environment that’s new to everybody.”

It’s apparent that the recipe for achieving longevity as an agricultural producer contains a daily dose of optimism.


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