“…no one owns a piece of my time…”
And as I’m looking he is pulled up right in front of me, and his boat is backed into a parking spot.
“So #32 dude, welcome back to the boatyard…and oh yeah, I’m here to interview you…tell me your story.”
Brent Boyette, from Kenly, North Carolina. Age 41, married to Terrie, two boys, 15 year old Hunter, 12 year old Jaden.
An American Farmer.
“Got me 1600 acres, farm cotton, soy beans, wheat, corn and tobacco. Been a farmer since I could walk.”
Brent and his brother work the family farm, the farm that has been in the family for generations, “My granddaddy farmed it, my father farmed it, now me and my brother farm it.”
Tell me your story #32, come on…tell me your story…
“My daddy made me go work a 9-5 type job before he retired, he did it to make sure I wanted to be a farmer, make sure that farming was in my heart.”
I looked up at him, didn’t say a word but it was the , “Did You” look on my face that made him answer.
“I lasted nine months doing the 9-5 thing. I was a maintenance man at a nursery, but couldn’t take it. I love the outdoors but I’m just used to being my own boss, ain’t got to ask no one for time off…if I get all my work done I can just leave, ain’t beholding.”
Now hold onto something sturdy, a city dude, me, is going to explain farming as told to me by Brent. I may leave some points out due to the fact I had no idea what he was talking about but I think what Brent is facing, the American farmer in general is also facing, and we as brother working stiffs need to know this stuff.
“Profits not as good as they used to be. If the economy doesn’t get better it is probably doubtful.”
Translation…he could lose the farm.
“Last year cotton was a little over $1 a pound…this year it’s down to 73-cents, so I’m losing right now about $300 an acre with my cotton.
Brent has planted 600 acres of cotton…that could be $180,000 loss.
“I, like you, have to pay bills 12 months a year, but we only get paid 4 months a year, only get paid in the months we bring the crop to market.”
He is leaning up against the front deck of his boat, fingers tapping on the carpet, looking outward, not at me, but at his future.
“In the last couple of years a hurricane blew away my profits and then a hail storm knocked away my profits…but…but you know it’s Mother Nature and what can you do. I’ve got farming, got farming in my blood.”
I’m quiet, stories happen better that way.
“It’s in your blood you know, if you can make it work, you make it work, but if we keep losing farms where are you going to get the stuff you need, America needs to feed its own, we sort of protect America, if we keep importing all this food because it is cheaper and we keep losing more and more farms, where are we going to be if other countries decide to shut off our food supplies…”
He trailed off, and I just waited, waited for what I felt was coming.
And come it did.
“My son, my younger son, he wants to farm, and I would like to pass the farm down to him like my granddaddy did to my daddy and he did to me…”
“…but it might not be there for him to get.”