Profile: Christi Bland
-- CMB Farm
-- Sledge, Mississippi
-- Soybeans, Rice
Bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to farming. Christi Bland's row-crop operation has taught the fourth-generation producer that what really matters is being able to water a crop. "It's not even so much about the quantity of the land you farm," she says. "If you have the ability to water, you can make a difference in yields."
Bland rents about half of the land she farms today and says while she loves farming, a huge operation has never been her goal. Rather, she says, "I stay focused on making the land I have the most profitable it can be."
This year, Bland stayed with soybeans and rice, noting she wanted to include some corn, but the weather didn't cooperate. She'd like to get back to wheat after a 10-year hiatus from the crop and notes the market is finally priced to encourage her to move in that direction.
"I really think diversity is important," she says. "When we see trade wars and their effect on our commodity markets, I always think how important it is to have choices. I like rice because it is more of a guaranteed crop. But, at the end of the day, you need to rotate for soil health. It's all a balancing act."
Bland adds when she started farming, she found the marketing side of the business frustrating, because there was so little control over what happens there. Today, she believes technology is one way to have more control as a farmer. "I think it has potential to minimize risk," she notes. "But, when you see the price tag associated with it, it can be startling. You have to consider whether it's going to give you a return on the investment."
Farming's challenges, Bland adds, are nothing new. She says her dad, James, has seen the same ups and downs she struggles with today.
"He was driving tractors when he was 10 years old," she says. "I wish I had that kind of time in. I think the biggest difference between his generation and mine, aside from technology, is this idea of sustainability." They are already making plans for the next generation by utilizing tools to help measure progress. "The key is working hard, focusing on the variables you can control and letting God take care of the rest."
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