Simply put, Waylan called his sons’ bluff. And after the initial “What the heck did you do?” passed, the boys were on board and the partnership formed, and the Hitchcock family farm rides again.

Hitchcock knew his children could farm and make good decisions, something they’ve had from a very early age. Example, Waylan had James at age six harrowing fields “as good as I could,” he said. James was ‘supervised’ as he ran the tractor, but not near as supervised as his mother would have liked. Hitchcock chuckles about that.

James is now a young leader in Georgia agriculture, much involved in the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer organization and many others, including being named the Georgia Peanut Commission Young Peanut Farmer of the Year this year.

“All my children are smart and not one of them is scared to work hard for something,” Waylan said.

James is the brains. Jonathan, point to his bicep, is the muscle. Waylan, well, he’s the wise sounding board ideas are thrown at. He’s been there and done it.

“I’ll admit that if he hadn’t bought that land like he did, or went ahead and did it like he did, we probably wouldn’t be here like we are now,” James said.

Waylan’s sale barn is now an equipment shed for the farm. And he is out of the scrap metal business, too … kind of sort of. (You gotta keep options open.)

The Hitchcocks farm 1,500 acres, planning 800 of corn, 500 cotton and maybe 100 peanuts this year, and building up a cattle herd.

It’s enough for the whole family. They don’t want to go shooting for too big too soon and the gradual increase in recent years has suited everyone, especially James, who admits he isn’t a riverboat gambler and much more prone to studying a decision well before stomping both feet in.

Except for stellar farmhand, Keith, the family work it all by themselves. Waylan’s daughter, Jennifer, is 28 now and on the farm team. Jonathan is 30 and so is his wife, Bridget, who works on the farm and can drive a tractor as good as any of them. She’s expecting her and Jonathan’s first child. James is 34 and is married to Brooke, 28, and they have two young kids, Moriah and J.W.

brad.haire@penton.com

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