All the profit in the field

Published 8:42 pm Tuesday, October 15, 2013

By Rex Alphin

Here we sit. Watching it rain. Again. And there sits the crop, right outside the pickup truck window. Waiting to be harvested. “Cloudy with showers tomorrow,” the man says. “Periods of rain”, he says. “This low pressure will continue to hang around causing problems….”

And we wait.

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It will take all of the Mattox Field and the Home Place to pay the fertilizer bill.

We need the Lottie Turner Farm to pay for the three tractor tires that went flat last spring, the clutch going out in TW-15, the transmission failing in the big tractor, the radiator in the white truck and the fuel pump on the short truck.

The Spivey place — if we get it harvested — should pay for insurance on all the trucks and tractors, insurance on the shop, the drying sheds, the bins, the dwelling houses, the cattle (in case one gets out and in the road), all the land we rent, the combines and everything else.

We need to pick all of Minga’s to pay the mortgage payments on all the equipment we pay the insurance on. We should get the equipment paid off by the time it is worn out and we can start over.

The Lytle place — if we get it in — should pay the taxes. Federal income taxes, state income taxes, personal property taxes, sales tax, real estate taxes, unemployment taxes, social security and fuel taxes.

The Elam farm should pay for all the diesel fuel it took to plant the crop, cultivate the crop, spray the crop, harvest the crop and haul it to market.

The Turf farm — if we get it in — should pay for the food we have eaten all year long, the electricity we used, the propane burned, shoes replaced, car repairs and shingles that blew off the roof last spring.

Then there is the Andrews place. Forty-five acres of beautiful peanuts with tap roots pointed to the sky, waiting for it to dry enough to be picked. It will take about 44 acres to pay the interest on all the money borrowed through the year to get us to where we are today.

Which leaves one last acre, free and clear. Pure, precious profit.

With that, I plan to take my wife out to eat.

If it ever stops raining.

Rex Alphin of Walters is a farmer, businessman, author, county supervisor and contributing columnist for the Suffolk News-Herald. His email address is