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A Bank of Missouri Cotton Farmer

Recently I had a chance to visit a cotton farm in Southern Missouri and Mid-South. I knew cotton was a plant and used to make clothing and material, but I had no idea how it was cultivated. Like all things complicated, cotton farming is no simple thing.

Most people don't realize that Missouri is a big cotton producer.

Meet Donny Deline, farmer of one of the larger cotton farms in southeast Missouri. Most people don't realize that Missouri is a big cotton producer. Mr. Deline says he and his farming partners have a crop rotation plan that consists of corn, soybean, rice, wheat, and cotton. It's a balance between the price of cotton, corn, soy, and our ability to grow quality crops in the Bootheel of Missouri. When all crop prices are profitable, we stay with a rotation, but when one crop's price begins to outweigh other's, like cotton, we start to put more stock where the profits are. There is a greater risk of growing cotton, so that's why they prefer to plant corn and soybeans when they can, but you go where the profits lead you. We couldn't do what we do without our partners.

I'm a fifth-generation farmer and I've run the farm since 1998.

To grow a high-yielding cotton crop and get it to market, we require consistent upgrades and improvements to equipment and property. Having enough equipment to cover those acres of cotton can also be a factor in planting decisions and to our ability to make a profit or even keep employees. One of the first things you learn as a farmer is how and why a good banking partner can make or break your success from year to year.

I'm a fifth-generation farmer and I've run the farm since 1998. Since that time, I have worked hard to grow the business and keep all our employees happy and with good-paying jobs.

My wife Christi and I met at Arkansas State. We were married in 1998 and we have a daughter Larkin who is a freshman at Ole Miss. We also have a 16-year-old son Peyton, who is a sophomore at Notre Dame high school in Cape Girardeau and loves helping on the farm.

One thing I know from running this farm for the last 24 years is how important partnerships are to success. From vendors to employees to banks—they all play a vital role. The Bank of Missouri has been a great business partner for years with our farming operations. They have provided us a full line of operating credit. We also have counted on The Bank of Missouri for our equipment and farmland purchases. They are large enough to handle all of our needs while still having the personal touch and service of a small bank. Basically, you're getting the best of both worlds!

According to the USDA's annual crop production report, Cotton acres harvested in Missouri were more than 400,000 acres of late.

Missouri's cotton acreage has been on the rise due to more favorable economics than some other crops in recent years. According to the USDA's annual crop production report, Cotton acres harvested in Missouri were more than 400,000 acres of late. Missouri's crop has a few advantages over some other locations. One being, the state's growing season is longer for a northern location, which makes for stronger and longer cotton fibers.

According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus Gossypium in the mallow family Malvaceae. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. Under natural conditions, the cotton bolls will increase the dispersal of the seeds.

The plant is a shrub native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world, including the Americas, Africa, Egypt, and India. The greatest diversity of wild cotton species is found in Mexico, followed by Australia and Africa. Cotton was domesticated in the Old and New Worlds.

The fiber is most often spun into yarn or thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile. The use of cotton for fabric is known to date to prehistoric times; fragments of cotton fabric dated to the fifth millennium BC have been found in the Indus Valley Civilization, as well as fabric remnants dated back to 6000 BC in Peru. Although cultivated since antiquity, it was the invention of the cotton gin that lowered the cost of production that led to its widespread use, and it is the most widely used natural fiber cloth in clothing today.

Current estimates for world production are about 110 million bales (500 pounds each) annually, accounting for 2.5% of the world's arable land. India is the world's largest producer of cotton. The United States has been the largest exporter for many years.

My name is Paul Gard. I've been working with farmers for 35 years. Each one is different, but all of them appreciate what a community bank can provide to the growth of their business. We can do things that the large banks can't—we are small enough to change our thinking fast and big enough to power through the hard times.

My wife Lisa and I live in Perryville and have two daughters. Shayna recently graduated from Missouri State University with a Business Administration degree and lives and works in Tulsa, OK. Michaela will graduate from Missouri State University in December 2021 with an Elementary Education degree.

When we opened in 1891, The Bank of Perryville was the only bank in Perry County. For over 100 years, we operated out of a single Perryville branch. Then in 1997, we changed our name to The Bank of Missouri and expanded. Today, we operate 36 branches across Missouri and have more than $2.4 billion in assets.

Over the last 130 years, The Bank of Missouri has grown and thrived despite two world wars, the Great Depression, and most recently, a worldwide pandemic. We were able to do this because we are a community bank. The phrase "Community Bank" means that our success is intertwined with the success of our communities. We're a bank made up of neighbors and friends. Our purpose as a community bank to help others succeed—that's kept us strong all these years. We always try to provide options, so if someone wants to speak person-to-person with their banker, they can walk into a branch. If they prefer to do business online, over the phone, or through an app... we provide top-notch service in those venues. We go out of our way to play a role in helping people achieve their dreams! That's extremely satisfying to see—your friends and neighbors achieving their goals.

This story was sponsored by The Bank of Missouri


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