Ron Smith

Southwest Farm Press

Ron Smith has spent more than 30 years covering Sunbelt agriculture. Ron began his career in agricultural journalism as an Experiment Station and Extension editor at Clemson University, where he earned a Masters Degree in English in 1975. He served as associate editor for Southeast Farm Press from 1978 through 1989. In 1990, Smith helped launch Southern Turf Management Magazine and served as editor. He also helped launch two other regional Turf and Landscape publications and launched and edited Florida Grove and Vegetable Management for the Farm Press Group. Within two years of launch, the turf magazines were well-respected, award-winning publications. Ron has received numerous awards for writing and photography in both agriculture and landscape journalism. He is past president of The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association and was chosen as the first media representative to the University of Georgia College of Agriculture Advisory Board. He was named Communicator of the Year for the Metropolitan Atlanta Agricultural Communicators Association. Smith also worked in public relations, specializing in media relations for agricultural companies. Ron lives with his wife Pat in Denton, Texas. They have two grown children, Stacey and Nick, and two grandsons, Aaron and Hunter.

Improved grain prices depend on decreased production
Paying attention to crop management, even with a down market, is the best thing a wheat or corn producer can do, Anderson says. To take advantage of any market, he has to have something to sell.
Conference updates grain and cattle markets, land values, farm finance, economy and technology
OSU Rural Economic Outlook Conference is early enough to allow producers time to review budgets, analyze farm programs and consider finances for the next crop year.
Insurance deadline, cattle markets, citrus disease warning: Important reports this week from Texas AgriLife
Deadline for the 2015 perennial Pasture, Range and Forage Insurance sign-up, designed to protect livestock and hay producers against production losses, is Nov. 16.
U.S. peanut farmers boost production nearly 1 billion pounds over 2014
Peanut production by U.S. farmers is expected to increase almost 1 billion pounds from last year — going from 5.18 billion pounds to 6.17 billion — based on the latest USDA Crop Production Report.
Economist sees reason for concern in ag economy, but he’s not prepared to hit the panic button
“Economic sluggishness in countries such as China and Brazil will continue to ripple through the rest of the world, including the United States, and drag the economy down. A strong dollar makes it even tougher to compete for export business. Other economies are also struggling.”
For West Texas cotton farmers: a lot of diversity in 2015 crops
The challenge has become more difficult in the last few years. “Since 2008, input costs — especially seed at $400 a bag — have risen sharply. And cotton is at 60 cents a pound.”
West Texas color gallery shows beauty of High Plains fall
But if you get off the main roads and pay attention to the canyons, the mesas, and the rangelands that make up large areas of the Texas High Plains, you’ll come to appreciate the sometimes subtle variations in color, the muted reds, the splashes of yellow, the odd golden-leaved tree standing tall and conspicuous among the dusty green of smaller brush and the browns of dried up native grasses.
Land values flat across the nation, but vary across regions, enterprises
Land values across the nation have remained relatively flat over the past year, with many Corn Belt states showing a decline. But land in most of the Southwest region continues to increase in value.
Challenges loom as High Plains cotton harvest nears midway point
Holladay talked about how well the machine is running, how difficult and costly weed control has been for the 2015 crop, and early setbacks from heavy rain followed by another dry summer.
Six trends you can’t afford to miss if you’re in agriculture
“There has never been a better time to be in agriculture,” says Lowell Catlett. “There has never been a better time to live in rural America.”
For Shawn Holladay: A new harvester, bad budget resistant weeds, and hopes for cottonseed
“I had to replant all my irrigated acreage because of the storms,” Shawn says. “We got 8 inches of rain — all at one time. Yield on my irrigated fields is not as good as usual, about 2-1/2 bales per acre. We typically want to make 3 bales on irrigated land.”
Cotton harvest proceeding at brisk pace in High Plains
Some cotton farmers report yields may be off a bit from what they would like but perhaps better than many expected back in late spring and early summer when a combination of weather-delayed planting followed by drought set the crop back.
Drought declines to 15 percent in Texas: region receives significant rainfall
Most of the region received significant amounts of rain from a system that came in on the coattails of moisture generated from Hurricane Patricia.
Mechanical harvester shows promise for New Mexico green chile production
New Mexico State University plant breeder Stephanie Walker is working on the chile plant, looking for varieties more adaptable to mechanical harvest and mechanical de-stemming.
USDA announces ARC, PLC payments, NAP extension; Disaster designations declared for Oklahoma and Texas
Late last week USDA announced that nearly half of the farmers who signed up for the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs will receive payments for the 2014 crop year.
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