McClendon Williams

"I hope people don't have all preconceived notions about how or who farmers are, especially when from a particular area. A lot of us are pretty enlightened!"

AGE: 22
HOMETOWN: Bastrop, LA
FARM TYPE / CROPS: Corn, soybeans, wheat
FARM LOCATION: Jones, LA


FAVORITES:

  • Music: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Wiz Khalifa, trance music & Skrillex.
  • Food: Crawfish and any type of spaghetti or pasta.
  • Drinks: Have a breakfast shake — kale. Love Dr. Pepper. Very rarely drink alcohol but when I do, Crown Royal.
  • Blue Jeans: Express.
  • Thing to do AFTER work: Workout, mountain bike, watch movies or a documentary ("Collapse" and "DMT: The Spirit Molecule" most recently).
  • Movie Stars: Joe Rogan (comedian), Mike Epps (comedian), Jim Carrey.
  • Tractor: My first tractor is my favorite, which was made by New Holland.
  • Mantra: “If you ever start taking things too seriously, just remember that we’re talking monkeys on an organic spaceship flying through the universe.” — Joe Rogan

What do you think a big MISCONCEPTION is about farming?

People don’t understand where you typically have to start from. You have to work with what has been given to you, from the ground up, and you don’t start with the best equipment and land, you have to make do with what you have.

The History Channel ran a show of families being farmers and it made me angry because it was BS. They showed prestigious farms, not what they are really like. They didn’t show the people with the older equipment that breaks down, with people replacing barrons and oiling it, and with things falling apart at all times. They show the people who are very wealthy and can afford the big things. It’s so easy if you have all the expensive equipment.

But people don’t realize that it’s a constant battle working with what you have, because things are falling apart all the time. You have to start from the ground up, but my goal is to get there — be one of the guys with the nice tractors and everything. A tractor like that costs up to $200,000, it’s a lot.

What's your relationship status?

I'm in a relationship — one year and half.

Do you have children?

No.

What is your attitude about money?

A little ridiculous. We’re the only species that pays to live on this planet and we made it that way ourselves. If I could see money any other way, I guess the worldly view is security. Money is comfort, and security. That’s all people really want.

Where is the farthest you have traveled to? Where would you like to go?

I've been to Washington DC, sight seeing. I would like to go to Brazil, on a spiritual journey, and Europe. I’d love to see everything — the Louvre especially.

If you could meet a few famous people, dead or alive, who would they be?

Joe Rogan, number one. I can see how he shapes the way people think. He’s changed some of my friends’ perspectives, because of his guests and it’s so great to hear these different experiences. Our experiences shape us to the core — the more experiences you view or hear the more enlightened you become.

Gandhi, Buddha, I would have liked to have met them. And Steve Jobs, he had such ambition, drive. I look to him because he didn’t achieve just one accomplishment, but what he achieved rippled across the entire world. I hope that what I do when I’m alive is still affecting people when I’m dead and gone. What he did is still contributing to the well-being in this world, and that’s something I’d like to do.

TELL US ABOUT A DAY ON THE FARM: When does your day start and end?

Starts at 6:00 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m.

What makes you HAPPY in a day on the farm?

A cool breeze.

What makes you FRUSTRATED?

When things keep breaking down, and I have to fix it. I try to instill positive mental attitude and positive thinking. Negative thoughts have a big impact on your reality. When you start off the day with a PMA (‘positive mental attitude’), I find that sprinkles into the rest of the day. When you start with negative thoughts, it shapes your reality. If you think positive, though, things really stay positive. Harbor negativity and it sticks its fingers out into the rest of your life.

What's the BEST part of a day?

Sunset, it’s beautiful and you get to see how good it looks. How good everything looks that you did that day. Kind of a pay-off. You get to see whatever you’re doing — whether water running across the levee, running through the fields, the sun gets to show you everything you worked for that day.

What's the WORST part of a day?

After lunch — you’re full, you’re tired, you don’t want to do what you put off before your lunch break!

Do you wear sunscreen?

Are you happy with what you farm?

I wouldn’t change the crops that I farm. But if I were running the show, it would be a lot different.

What was the HARDEST part getting started?

The hours, it takes a lot away from your life. Sometimes the time spent isn’t necessarily worth the reward. But it’s worth it because of the family. If I didn't have family though, I wouldn’t do it, the money isn’t really worth it. But where else would I see my brother and my father every day? I don’t just farm for a paycheck, but I do this because of the value in seeing my family, too. I can make a living while seeing my family.

What SURPRISED you about farming?

Just how it all works, how everything comes together. To see the crop from being grown to harvested to being the food that is now being hauled off in an 18-wheeler. I had no idea what or how in God’s name a combine could do all of that... how it can take an ear of corn and then process a whole crop! I love how the tractors and processes work — and all the innovation and ingenuity that has gone into it.

What do you LOVE about it?

One thing that I have loved about farming is that it’s pure – you do get what you put into it.

What lessons have you learned on the farm?

Positive mental attitude. Nine times out of ten, all the work you put in the day before isn’t going to be the same the next day. The work you put in before is a constant evolution– you can’t just find it the way you left it the day before. Like a line of polypipe was rolled out and then it was busted the next day because of a raccoon, or you find a busted pipe, or a power unit caught some air and stopped running and so the water well goes out. Point being we had 6 go out last year!

Do you have any advice for fellow farmers?

Be prepared for the worst case scenario in the weather.

Anything to say to those who aren’t farmers?

I hope people don’t have all preconceived notions about how or who farmers are, especially when from a particular area. I like to think a lot of us are pretty enlightened and not the ‘stereotypical’ farmer. Farming is a true entrepreneurship. We have more factors contributing to the outcome than any other situation — weather, commodity prices, the risks that are actually involved.

Where do you think you'll be in 5 or 10 years?

I think I’ll be in California or Arizona with the best soil and the most open-minded environment.