What is in this article?:
- Holladay worked for his father when he was a kid and represents the fourth generation to farm in the Lamesa area, but says 2011 was the most challenging year he’s experienced in 20 years of farming on his own.
- He’s hoping for better results in 2012, although long-range predictions indicate a strong chance of drought persisting into next spring.
DAWSON COUNTY, Texas, cotton farmer Shawn Holladay is the High Cotton winner for the Southwest region.
Holladay believes in a producer’s commitment to sustainability and conserving resources.
“But sustainability also means an ability to stay on the land and get a profit from it — and that’s all related to rainfall.”
Terracing is an important part of his soil conservation efforts, especially on sloping acreage. “With extreme slopes, we use terraces to prevent erosion; we have terraces on most of our land.”
The prolonged drought has limited terrace maintenance, Holladay says. “Drought affects everything we do. It has certainly slowed down terrace maintenance. We need moisture to do some of that maintenance work.”
He takes advantage of any moisture he gets to run sand fighters across his fields. When he got a light rain on part of his acreage in late September, he immediately got tractors rolling.
“We made the best of it and got the tractors running as soon as we could. Moisture doesn’t last long, and we may not have many opportunities to take care of these problems.”