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Cotton News

May 10, 2024

By May 17th, 2024No Comments

Welcome to the May 10, 2024 issue of Cotton News, a service provided by Plains Cotton Growers Inc. for the cotton industry in the Texas High Plains and beyond.

Wanted: Lost Sheep to be Found

By Kara Bishop

It’s May, which means you are seeing the #mentalhealthawareness posts all over social media. I sometimes struggle with the idea of telling people there’s help and just listing the resources. Not to devalue the intention, but as a realist, I know we can do more. And I understand the need for community and industry resources for this issue. I know they serve an important purpose, and I’m going to include a list of them at the bottom of this article. I just don’t think that’s the difference maker for everyone. It wasn’t for me.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep is one of my favorite stories in the bible. I like it because there have been multiple times throughout my short life that I have been “the one.” Maybe not lost in sin but lost in a dark mental state. Confident that no one could pull me out. Confident that no one would try.

It’s a short story, but I’m going to take the liberty of inference and suggest that it wasn’t easy to locate that one sheep that got lost, especially through mountainous terrain. How long did the man in the parable look? How hard did he look? He had 99 safe sheep so what did it matter that one was lost? Apparently one lost sheep was everything to the man. Lost sheep are everything to Jesus. They should mean everything to us.

It can be easy to spiral when your occupation is 85% uncertainty and 100% sheer force of will. You get to the point where you think it’s never going to work out. And then you have a good year and can’t enjoy it to its fullest, because you’re afraid the next year will be bad.

You may feel the need to shut yourself off from the world, family, friends, or community. You may become the lost sheep. But it’s our job as those who care about you to pull you back out.

Agriculture has always been the community that looks after its neighbor. That’s never been in question — just look at the Panhandle wildfires. Look at all the charity and service and effort people poured into their hurting neighbors.

But mental health isn’t really an area we excel in. It’s not something we like talking about and statistics are not on our side. Mental health takes an effort like nothing else does, because you may have to help when it’s not well received.

It takes tenacity when it comes to helping those who think they aren’t worth it. I’m in a text thread with my mom and sister. If I don’t respond all day to any of the conversation, one of them finds me — they have my location on their phones. They don’t care how I feel about it or if I’m wanting to talk. It’s not good for me to repress whatever emotion I’m experiencing, and they know that. So they dig it out of me. And that is the difference maker.

Obviously, I’m not the textbook case for how to handle someone dealing with mental health issues. That approach won’t work with everyone. But finding what does work for the individuals you’re close to is going to require the same effort as the man searching for the one lost sheep. And quite frankly, it’s easier to share a social media post for mental health awareness month.

We can all name someone who has went through or is going through a hard time right now — have we checked on them? I know we don’t want to interfere with someone’s life or seem nosy but trust me — I’ve never seen someone regret prying into their beloved family member or friend’s life.

But I have seen them mourn every day not checking on that friend or loved one when the mental health battle has been lost. You’re not going to be able to prevent everything and save everyone, but we can all do the best we can to remain plugged in to our communities, family circles and friendships. Stay alert and keep looking for that lost sheep. You won’t regret the effort you made — and you might save a life.

Mental Health Resources:

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: call or text 988 or visit

AgriStress Helpline for Texas – Southwest AgCenter: 833-897-2474

Mental Health Counseling – South Texas Rural Health Services: 830-879-3047 or

Mental Health Crisis Services – Texas Health and Human Services:

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Upcoming Events

OC Playa Field Day
Date: May 16, 2024
Location: Floyd County Friends Unity Center

Plains Cotton Growers Advisory Group Meeting
Date: May 24, 2024
Location: PCG Conference Room, Lubbock, Texas

South Plains Field Scout School
Date: May 31, 2024
Location: Hale County Extension Office, Plainview, Texas


For a full list of upcoming events, see the Events Page.

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