What is in this article?:
- 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.
Robert Precht began working as chief of dirt operations for producer Bowen Flowers, Omega Plantation, Clarksdale, Miss., in 1996. “Agriculture workers aren’t just people that stumble into the work. This is a way of life; a part of the heart; and something in the blood,” says Precht.
Life in the box
Despite the loss of his brother, Precht is grateful for his lot in life. Each day, he and his men shift the ground that feeds the world, and there is no role he would rather play. As a child, it was spoons and toy tractors in the dirt; as a man, it’s life in the box — and he loves it all — working with his crew, making the circle each day and moving dirt.
“Some days I shake my head and recognize how blessed I am to be working for the people I do, especially with all the dirt movers in Coahoma County. Everybody wants to feel like they do a fine job at whatever they work on. I can’t say I’m the best — but I’ll tell you, I can work right along with the best.
“I’m at home in the box and that’s where I’m comfortable because it’s second-nature to me. Not everybody wants to get on a tractor and not everybody can hack it. I’ve always been so fortunate with the people I’ve worked with. It takes a unique and special breed to get in the box and roll all day.”
Indeed. Takes one to know one.
(For a gallery of Precht and crew at work, see Photos: Shifting farmland with Robert Precht)
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