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Farm Journal South

February 26, 2010
By: Charles Johnson, Farm Journal Editor

The Future of Farming in the Southeast

Mike Strain, Louisiana commissioner of agriculture and forestry, thinks Southern farmers have a bright, if challenging, future.

"The future of agriculture in this hemisphere will be in the Southeastern U.S. because of the availability of water,” Strain says.

"Look at the amount of food that will need to be produced by 2030. We're going to need to make it happen in the Southeastern U.S. Many places around the world are having water shortages, but in the Southeast we're talking about using surface water as well as groundwater.”

There could be problems with supply, however. "Just on the Mississippi River, there are 150 dams on the tributaries. We have to make sure agriculture is first in line for that water,” Strain says.

"We have to seize the opportunity and stay involved,” he adds.


Evaluate the Payback for Precision

How can you be certain precision technology turns a profit on your farm? Making that call could be a little easier now that the University of Tennessee has developed the Cotton Precision Agriculture Investment Decision Aid (CPAIDA).

"We developed it to determine break-even on different ag technology investments,” says Dan Mooney, University of Tennessee ag economist. "As production costs increase, commodity prices are stagnating. Precision farming is one method used to reduce costs. But increases in precision farming are constrained by uncertainty about profitability.”

With upfront precision farming investments running from $5,000 to $25,000, it's vital to make the right call. With the new evaluation tool, you plug in your desired variable rate technology equipment. The program then reports your costs spread across all your acreage options, including crops in addition to cotton.

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FEATURED IN: Farm Journal - Mid-February 2010

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