Grower Spotlight: Barry Evans (Kress, Texas)

July 3, 2007

Many Americans wrongly think that farmers are uneducated and not tech-savvy. When it comes to Barry Evans, a cotton farmer from Kress, Texas, nothing could be further from the truth.

Barry is an early adopter of the latest farming technology, such as remote sensing, and he reads any article or study he can get his hands on about improving crop yields. That’s because, as Barry says, continuing to increase efficiency is the name of the game in modern-day farming, where input costs are soaring but cotton prices haven’t kept pace.

He comes about his thirst for knowledge honestly. When his grandfather first founded the Evans farm in the 1920s, he was the same way. And Barry’s 72-year-old father, Billy, is still active on the farm and is a whiz at monitoring the GPS guidance system on their tractor.

But Barry knows that no matter how efficient he becomes, it won’t make a difference if Congress decides to weaken cotton policies in the upcoming farm bill.

“The current farm policy is working well and it keeps the agricultural industry stable. They [Congress] should keep it that way,” he said of pending farm legislation. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

If lawmakers pull the rug out from under cotton farmers by gutting the commodity title of the farm bill, Barry knows that it will be difficult to make farming a family affair for the fourth generation.

“My son really enjoys the farm. He does quite a bit to help out around here.” explained Barry. “He hopes to take over the farm some day, and I think he’ll make an excellent farmer.

If anyone can match Barry’s zeal for farming, it’s Eric, his 14-year-old son.

“I just hope he gets the chance,” Barry concluded.