Monday, October 27, 2008

The fabric of our lives...

I'm not sure why, but I've always enjoyed covering farming stories. I think it may be because I'm from the city and the closest I ever came to experiencing farming was seeing my neighbor in his tomato garden.
The other reason, is because the farming communities are all pretty tight. It's easy, once you develop a source to find what you are looking for. This started two months ago when we were doing a story on the outlook of how cotton would do. For that story I was looking for a cotton gin that was getting ready for the season, since there wasn't anything going on with the harvest to shoot at the time. I ended up speaking to the gin manager in Stamford, about 45 miles north of Abilene, who was putting in all new equipment, he was excited to get the coverage and told me to come up and "make myself at home."
Well, last week our Sunday business front was about the actual cotton harvest and the outlook for the year. The problem was most of the cotton in the area is not ready to harvest. So after calling a few county ag agents, I was told the area up north of Abilene near Stamford had already begun to harvest. So, I called up to the Stamford cotton gin and talked to the manager who helped me out earlier, again, he told me "come on up anytime" that they would be busy all week.
When I got there, I told him I also needed to get some photos of the cotton being stripped. "That shouldn't be a problem, why don't you go get your photos here and I'll make a few phone calls, see me on your way out." Well, I got a few shots of cotton bales being bagged(the cotton gins have become pretty automated to the point where there isn't a whole lot of hands on type work). Afterward, I walked into the manager's office and I was given a list of a few fields and directions how to get there.
Thanks to a good helpful source, I probably saved quite a bit of mileage on my car and even more time from having to drive around looking for a field that was being harvested.
While I will never be known as the most organized person in the world, I always keep every business card and cell phone number of everyone I ever meet. The Stamford gin manager example is just the most recent, but it hasn't been my first and certainly won't be the last example of developing good sources.

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