“I grew up interested in farming, and when I was in school at Mississippi State University, I’d come back in the summer and fall and help Uncle Walt on his farm. After I left the university to be with my father when he became ill, Uncle Walt offered me a job on his farm and I’ve just never left. He helped me to get started farming on my own.”

Walt and his wife, Jerilou, an education professor at the University of Mississippi, have no children, but he laughingly says “We inherited a child when Josh started showing an interest in farming.

“He’s a quick learner, and like all young folks nowadays, technology is second nature to him,” says Walt. “He’s been a real asset to the operation.”

Walt and Josh farmed separately for a while, but “things got to the point that it was such a problem keeping everything separate that we put everything in one corporation,” Walt says. “Jerilou, who helps with the bookkeeping, and I have two-thirds and Josh has one-third.”

Walt started farming with a dairy operation in the nearby hills at Oakland, but got out of that in 1976. “We still have some acreage there, but over the years we’ve gradually been picking up land in the Delta, and now the bulk of our operation is here. We haven’t planted any cotton in the hills in the last six years.” He attended Mississippi State University, majoring in ag economics.

“We have six farms, about 80 percent rented land, and most of it is fairly contiguous so we don’t have to move equipment over long distances.”

Josh, who majored in wildlife biology at Mississippi State, says, “I love having winters off and time for hunting. And I’m grateful to Uncle Walt for giving me the opportunity to work with him and become a part of the operation. I couldn’t be happier.”

hbrandon@farmpress.com