The Limestone County farm Benjamin Looney works with his father is extremely diversified, but it’s clear that cotton still is king there.While he has 100 acres each of soybeans, wheat and corn, his cotton acreage stands at 500, averaging about 750 pounds per acre.He grew up on the farm helping his father, and in 1997, began farming on his own with 230 acres and his father’s equipment. In his first year, Benjamin lost his entire cotton crop to extremely wet weather. The next three years were marked by drought. And it’s getting more difficult each passing year to find enough land to farm. There’s also the yearly battle of the bugs with aphids, plant bugs and bollworms. He also rotates crops to reduce fungal disease. He’s no-tilled since he began farming, and has used a rotary harrow the last two years. He uses a Global Positioning System on his sprayer to reduce over-spray and skips. Still, Benjamin keeps hoping for more flexibility in weed control.He practices good conservation with contour planting, fixed terraces, and plants 300 acres in cover crops each year.Through it all, Benjamin seeks his father’s advice. And he still can’t think of a better way to make a living.”Growing up on the farm gave me the experience of a lifestyle that can only be found on a family farm,” said Benjamin.
Outstanding Young Farm Family—Cotton