By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau: Arizona Farm Bureau’s most recent Farmer of the Year recipient, Clyde Sharp will tell you he didn’t set out to do the farming he’s doing; in
An interview with Clyde Sharp, cotton, wheat, alfalfa and produce farmer from Yuma, County.
Part of an ongoing series profiling Arizona agriculture’s farmers and ranchers
Tell us about your farm business: The Sharp farm near Roll, Arizona covers 2,500 acres. The crops we grow include lettuce, alfalfa, cotton, wheat, and onion seed; also corn silage. More and more we’re leaning heavier on produce and seed production because of the economic opportunities.
Clyde Sharp receiving Arizona Farm Bureau's Farmer of the Year award last November during the Annual Meeting. On stage with him were Arizona Farm Bureau President Kevin Rogers, Arizona Speaker of the House of Representatives David Gowan, Yuma County Farm Bureau President Mark Loghry and U.S. Senator from Arizona, John McCain.
Sharp, like many farmers today improving water usage and management, uses level basin irrigation for his crops. Level basins require precise water control (including minimal rain), large on-flow rates, uniform soil within a basin, and precision-leveled fields. When engineered correctly water can be applied uniformly in a short amount of time. Getting water on and off the fields fast avoids
2014 Farmer of the Year Clyde Sharp with his wife, Vicky, and two of his daughters, Holly (left) and Kayla (right).
What changes have you seen in your lifetime as it relates to farming? The biggest thing is technology. Tractors;
Why did you choose to go into agriculture? When I graduated from High School I loved math and to this day, I’m still really good at it. So, back then I told my folks I was heading to the U of A to study math. My dad looked at me kind of funny and said, “What are you going to do with it? Are you going to be a math teacher?”
So, I started out in college studying agronomy and ultimately switched to Ag education for a more rounded education; I figured Ag education was a fallback position if I didn’t get into agriculture. So, when I got married and needed a job after
What are your community and/or industry activities? In 1991, I was elected to the Arizona Cotton Growers Association (ACGA) Board of Directors. I watched in 1999 when the Arizona cotton producers rejected a Pink Bollworm Eradication Program. I was convinced we still needed a program. In 2003, I became ACGA President and determined that, notwithstanding a failed referendum in 1999, to try again. Many in the industry believed that the Arizona cotton producers had settled the issue of eradication. I believed otherwise.
From his Farmer of the Year Profile
As a two-term member of the Arizona Cotton Research & Protection Council (ACRPC), Sharp fought for improvements in plow down regulations, targeted research funding and
In the 1990s, his brother, David, and Sharp provided fields,
What is one fact/experience/achievement no one knows about you? I am extremely happy to consider all I’ve accomplished in the cotton industry has helped the industry. I have super friends in the industry. It’s been an honor to be associated with things that have helped us in agriculture.
What do you think you do really well? Math
Why are you a farm bureau member? I’d like to answer that in two parts. First, about why I’m not an active farm bureau member, in part
My cup of tea has been involved in the cotton industry.
The second part is, though I’m not as involved in Farm Bureau as my brother, I believe in the importance of my membership regardless of
How will the next generation of farmers have to operate? I think in the future we’re going to have to farm without a safety net from the government. We’re going to farm bigger and bigger numbers [acres] with more coming in as