Pace and Chris Perry are carrying on a farming tradition initiated by their great grandfather in the late 1800s.
“He came into the area (Tunica County, Miss.) as a farm manager,” Pace says. “He began buying land around 1910.”
He needed a lot of it. Pace says his great grandfather had nine children and left each one of them a farm. “We farm most of our cousins’ land now,” he says.
Pace has three sons, George, 24, Thomas, 22, and Lawton, 17, who may carry on the tradition.
“George is on the farm full-time now,” Pace says. Thomas is in college and Lawton is in high school.
I don’t know if Thomas will farm or not,” he says. “Lawton loves it, just like George does.”
It’s in the blood. “It (farming) is all I ever wanted to do, even when I was at Mississippi State.” Pace has a degree in ag technology and business. Thomas is pursuing a similar degree, although with a different moniker. “He might want to get a job off the farm when he graduates in December.”
Thomas and Lawrence work part-time on the farm now, as all three have done for years. “When they were young, they went to the field to chop pigweed out of cotton,” Pace says.
The farm his sons will operate when they are on their own will be radically different than the one he and Chris moved into more than 20 years ago. “Technology has changed so much,” he says. He talked about variable rate application, transgenic seed and equipment enhancements.
“We went from a two-row, to a four-row to a six-row cotton picker and now to a round bale picker. It’s hard to imagine how technology will change for my boys.”
In the meantime, the Perrys are preparing to put in another crop; watching the weather, hoping for a little rain to get land ready to plant cotton, corn and soybeans; watching the markets and hoping to see commodity prices pick up a bit.
And they are maintaining the land so the next generation can carry on the tradition.