What is in this article?:
Pepper and Crystal Roberts, cotton, corn, and soybean farmers at Belzoni, Miss., have been recognized for their efforts in educating the consuming public about agriculture and for their farming innovations, leadership skills, and involvement in their community. They have been named state winners of the 2010 Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award.
More landforming ... and rice
Looking to the future, Pepper says he would like to totally landform all of the land formerly in catfish ponds. He raised catfish until recent years, but reverted exclusively to row crops.
“The bottomland doesn’t drain very well,” he says. “I’d also like to begin growing rice — the water on the rice fields would bring the land back to its full yield potential.”
He would also like to see cotton make a comeback, and hopes to be one of the first farmers in his county to own a new six-row round bale cotton picker.
Pepper and Crystal would also like to see their sons and daughter get an education and have the opportunity to return to the family farm — all of which brings up another important accomplishment. In recent years, Pepper was able to help another young farmer get started in the business.
“One of my goals when I started farming was to help another young person get established in agriculture,” he says. “I hired a young man from our county as a farm manager in 2002, and for the next six years, I custom-farmed land that he had acquired, helping him with financing and decision-making. I am proud that he was able to begin farming on his own in 2009.”