Farmers and ranchers in the Brazos Valley have traditionally grown three things; cattle, corn, and cotton, but there’s at least one very established family farm that’s diversified what they grow through the years.
“Started out with mules and we’re standing here with a 8420 John Deere tractor that has a gps system on it that basically will pretty well drive itself.”
Jay Wilder farms land that has been in his family since 1912.
“They had over 200 employees on the farm. Now it’s my dad and I, and two other part time guys and my boys when they’re not in school.”
“We don’t farm quite as many acres as they did, but the four of us, or the six of us, are covering quite a bit of ground.”
They’ve made changes along the way.
“Back when my grandfather was farming it was cotton, cotton, cotton, cotton. And then my Dad convinced him that we needed to try to plant some milo for a rotational crop, and convinced him to do that and saw the benefits of that and we’ve even gone further with that. Now we have the cotton/milo rotation or milo/soybean rotation.”
The Wilders began growing watermelons 12 years ago.
“That’s been different. You know we had concerns when we started with that, as far as our land, or how it would affect the land. We hadn’t seen any adverse effects out of that.”
“We used to plant sunflowers. I wouldn’t mind trying that someday.”
Jay Wilder enjoys what he does.
“Wouldn’t trade it for anything. I mean it’s just, we’re out working the land. We can see what we’re doing. You know it’s not 8 to 5 Monday through Friday, it’s 24/7/365.”
And it’s been that way for Jay’s family for 100 years. I’m Bob French, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.