A Feeling of History & Innovation, Independence & Community

November 30, 2009

Steve Chapman talks to Janice about his life as a farmer.

The landscape differences never strike me harder than when I go to the High Plains. Whether I’m driving or flying into Lubbock, TX the view is staggering.  From the sky, you can make out circles where crops are planted.  On the highway, you notice the dramatic change in altitude as you drive up onto the Caprock.

But for the last several years, my amazement with the landscape has been matched with the welcoming feelings I’ve felt on my visits to the biggest cotton patch in the world.  Cotton has been my “bread and butter” for a long time and the High Plains has become a place I feel so comfortable in.  That’s in part due to people like Steve & Melinda Chapman who farm in Lorenzo, TX.

Lucky enough to call Chappy (Steve) a friend, I was excited to hear the new ideas around our blog while in Lubbock.  I grabbed my cameras and headed out to his farm to see if he’d mind me getting my farmer perspective blogs off to a start.  He was a perfect subject because he is so easy to talk to and I know how passionate he is about sharing information about farming. I’ve seen him tour bankers, tourists, members of the media, scientists, etc.

I had been in Lorenzo just a month or two earlier and that’s when I found out that Steve’s dad, Robert, had passed away this summer.  His dad always had a big smile for visitors and it was the first major farm event he wasn’t there to help host.  It seemed a fitting time to talk about the background of the family farm a bit and Chappy was willing to provide insight on how the farm came to be, how conservation practices  employed and more.

From there, the connections to the rural landscape and the sense of community seemed automatic.  And the connections Steve has to the area, is something that he is passionate about.  While he took a short break to live “in town” and decided he’d be better off in the wide open spaces.  Lots of houses in the area are gone though, and Steve’s one of the farmers who have taken on additional acres in order to stay on the farm full-time.  The sense of camaraderie is unique and appreciated.

He gave me more food for thought as I boarded that plane and we took off.  I tried to spot Lorenzo and that shop that we visited in… but I got distracted by the harvest activity underway.

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