Meet one of America's youngest farmers. Thomas Neblett, 22, farms 2,400 acres and is surrounded by a crew that parallels his age. Sunrise Planting Co., Clarksdale, Miss., is an extreme exception: “As far as being 22 years old, there’s a lot of guys that work on farms that are my age, but I’m the only guy I know of that’s 22 and running his own farm."
It takes a special breed to get in the tractor box and roll all day. Each day, Robert Precht, chief of Omega Plantation’s dirt operations in Clarksdale, Miss., shifts the ground that feeds the world, and there is no role he would rather play.
Vernon Jackson loaded his irrigation gun and unleashed it on Delta cotton as July heat settled on the fields. Jackson, farm manager, Heaton Farms, Clarksdale, Miss., along with Chuck Tuminello and Ramiro Lobo, got water pipes lined up to feed two irrigation guns and began watering on July 9. Each gun showers 120 crop rows and contains 250 feet of hose.
Chopping weeds is a practice that dates to the dawn of agriculture — and is still effective. In an agricultural age of herbicide-resistant weeds, Delta cotton chopping crews walk the rows of thousands of acres on the hunt for pigweed and marestail.
Young Mississippi farmer Chris Lively, Lively Farms, Coahoma County, took advantage of clear skies May 14 and began planting Cocodrie rice. Chris, along with his father Gerald Lively, run a tight operation — 4,700 acres of corn, soybeans, rice, wheat, and pecans. The Livelys will plant 800-1,000 rice acres; 800 acres of corn; and the rest in soybeans (plus 500 acres of winter wheat and 110 acres of permanent pecans).