HOMETOWN: Born in Brinkley, AR– 50 miles outside of Memphis and 50 miles from Little Rock
FARM TYPE / CROPS: Rice, wheat, soybeans and corn
FARM LOCATION: Jones, LA
- Music: I like rock & roll — especially the '60s and '70s like Jimmy Hendrix. Also love ALABAMA and Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR). But mostly country music on the radio.
- Food: Love seafood, shrimp — anything that swims in the water. Then comes steak.
- Drinks: Don’t drink alcohol. My favorite is Diet Coke, for breakfast and supper — I get cranky and in a bad mood if I don’t get it.
- Blue Jeans: My favorite two is Tommy Hilfiger (but they're hard to find here) and then second is Carhartt, sold at hardware stores for the old-timers like me!
- Thing to do AFTER work: To relax, I like to enjoy reading the newspaper and/or Progressive Farmer, but I’m addicted to the Weather Channel — watch it all the time, fall asleep to it.
- Mantra: There’s always a time when it doesn’t seem like nothing is going right. For a couple of hours when the equipment breaks down, we just gotta let the rough side drag and just keep on keepin’ on.
How did you get into farming?I’m a 4th generation farmer and watched my dad, uncle all farm. When I graduated from high school and college, I was farming with my sister and her husband in Lake Charles, LA. Something that’s just in your blood. I’ve always liked being outdoors and in the dirt.
What do you think a big MISCONCEPTION is about farming?Farming is like any business. You have certain people that live high on the hog and that brag and show off what they have, like with any business. I think society sees some of the larger farm corporations that seem to have everything, but I think that general public looks at farmers as wealthy people that have no risk. When, in fact, they have all the risk.
Every farmer puts his whole life on the line — every year is a new beginning and a new end. It’s a big gamble, you put everything you have into it and you always have the hopes that you’ll recover what you have and a profit and we’ll be able to go again the next year. They don’t see the hard hours put in. If I got paid by the hour I’d be paid less than minimum wage sometimes. We have to turn around and invest the money back in the land and equipment or you’ll end up with nothing.
What's your relationship status?Married and in a great relationship. My favorite thing about my wife is that she’s so understanding with the amount of hours and time I have to spend on the farm. And then when we’re together she makes sure the time is meaningful. She goes out of her way to make it special, and an enjoyable time. We both work long hours, and she has a lot of patience with me.
Do you have children?I have 9 ranging from 20 to 30 years old. I have 6 boys and 3 daughters.
How many are involved in farming?5 are involved in farming daily operations. All of them aren’t because my daughter is in Americorp and I have 2 sons in the US Marines, and they will return to the farm after serving for the government. One passed away.
Where is the farthest you have traveled? Where would you like to go?Hawaii twice. I want to go to Brazil, like the US used to be — making it soybeans, with some of the world's largest farms and see how they’ve farmed and adapted over the years.
What is your attitude about money?I’m for sure not a greedy person, and I like money to be able to get things to accomplish the dreams that I have in life but I’ve done without money. Born very poor, and then I’ve had money and been very successful at times, and then Mother Nature would take it away and I’d be back to square one. So I look at money being something that’s not the most important thing in life. It would be closer to the bottom of the list, the older that I’ve gotten, versus at the top of my list.
If you could meet a few famous people, dead or alive, who would they be?Clint Eastwood. I’d like to sit down or ride around and talk to him for a day. Marilyn Monroe — I’d want to know why, when so pretty and with so much going on, would she get to the point where things could go so bad when they could have been so good.
What do you farm? How many acres? Are you happy with it?My family and I together farm about 7,500 acres. As far as crop mix, which changes each year, we farm about 4,000 acres of corn, and about 2,000 acres of wheat and about 1 thousand acres of soybeans. I like the mix and being diversified. It always helps the ground, making a better crop following a different crop every year. Fine planting a crop for 2 years or so but eventually it’s better to rotate.
What was the HARDEST part getting started?When I was first getting started the hardest part was finding someone that believed in you enough to loan you the money. That was the hardest thing starting out — being able to find a lending institution to take a chance on you.
And then trying to stay in business. There were no safety nets in farming to keep you from going out of business in the early '70s and ‘80s. No help from the government — no loans and no type of crop insurance. You were at the mercy of planting your seed. If you didn’t harvest, you didn’t get paid. The banks would carry a debt over time, but if you had a bad year it would take several years to pay back the debt from a bad year. So, it was hard to be able to secure a crop loan.