What is in this article?:
- Mississippi farmer Billy Goss is a contented man, grateful for the blessings agriculture has afforded him.
Billy Goss, Goss Farms, Lyon, Miss.: “There was never a time I can remember that I didn’t know I was going to be a farmer. Even as a little boy, I only wanted to farm.”
Goss left cotton several years back and now grows soybeans and wheat across his land, but the cotton memories haunt him. Goss’ voice takes a slight drop and he speaks almost in a reverent tone: “I love cotton and it’s my favorite crop. I love just to watch it. The Lord said, ‘The fields are white with harvest,’ and those fields have been white with harvest for me for the longest time.”
(For a photo gallery of Goss, see A true American farmer)
As the grain market has grown stronger, Goss has gone with the current, riding beans as his strong horse and feels his current crop is excellent. Timely rains and cool summer temperatures have brought him a bumper crop; 250 acres is irrigated and the rest is dryland.
“Let me get back to technology again. Beans and polypipe have made such a difference in my farm life. This polypipe is something that transforms.”
“A genius. Billy is a genius on dragging that polypipe out. He just won’t say that,” says Dot.
Billy grins and answers back: “I’m a shade-tree engineer when it comes to water. I haven’t yet learned how to run it uphill, but I’m working on that.”
The give-and-take between Billy and Dot is plain testament to 57 years of marriage — the union couldn’t be much deeper. As Billy tells it, she has been at his side every day of their marriage; not physically in the field, but a partner all the same. “We’ve had such a good life and we’re still at. I just wouldn’t change even one thing that happened to us. We have two children, Sue and Tommy. They both made us proud and we love them to death. In this life, if you bring up your family and live with them right; educate them; and prepare them for their future, then you have genuinely accomplished something.”
Dot still handles all of the paperwork and marketing for Goss Farms — she knows how to sell and when: “I’m the one that gets the money,” Dot laughs. “When beans are up and I think it’s right, it’s time to sell. We’re not worried about hitting the high every time; we just don’t want to hit the low.”
The 2013 harvest will end soon for Goss. He’ll plant wheat and then retreat to his shop, preparing his machinery for spring. The fieldwork will end; the planning and waiting will begin. Goss will look out on his fields and burn to get in them, because even at 82, the yearning remains fresh: “It’s pure excitement when the season begins. I want to go, go, go. It’s like a kid at Christmas; that’s how I feel. I’m like that rabbit on television that keeps on going — that’s me.”