March 2, 2023
Those involved in Midsouth agriculture likely know Bill Robertson for his contributions to the cotton industry. However, I think we should celebrate a few other noteworthy qualities of Bill and his wife, Carey.
I have known the Robertsons for years through our close-knit ag community. We live in the same county, and around here, they are recognized by the passel of farm animals they often bring as a petting zoo to local ag and children’s events.
There are ponies, bunnies, chickens, and goats. They have even brought puppies. The kids love it, and the Robertsons harness teachable moments to share fun facts about the animals while showing the kids how to interact with them.
When my oldest daughter turned two, she loved farm animals. Likewise, I planned a farm themed birthday with hopes of a petting zoo. I knew the request might be a stretch, but one call to Carey, and a livestock trailer was backing into the driveway on the day of the party.
Little did I know I would be helping at events like this years later. A very favorite memory was watching a preschooler’s reaction when he caught a glimpse of Bill sitting on a haybale, dressed in his overalls, bandana, and straw hat.
The little boy stopped in his tracks, pointed at Bill, and loudly announced to his classmates, “Look! There’s a real farmer, too!”
In addition to ag education, the Robertsons also make big impacts in the lives of friends in the ag community. I know firsthand. Not too long ago I worked for Bill as a research assistant. Although this season only lasted a year and a half, I learned so much. Like others, I consider Bill and Carey to be mentors, with a lasting connection contributory to my career success.
Remember Bill’s underwear study? That also transpired from close ag connections that Carey made through a Facebook group of farm wives. The Robertsons traveled to Iowa to attend one of their weddings. While there, Bill met the husband of a friend from the group who was equally passionate about soil health. He invited Bill to an annual field day on his farm the very next week.
Bill returned to Iowa for the event. There he discovered the “Soil Your Undies” demonstration. He returned the following year, extending the invitation to friend and soil health advocate, Adam Chappell so he could connect.
Outside of ag, one of Bill’s most notable commitments is promoting awareness of men’s breast cancer. Bill is now a 10-year survivor. His service as a Susan G. Koman ambassador provides support to other men diagnosed with the disease. Furthermore, he grows and donates his hair to Wigs for Kids for children going through chemo treatments.
I must say, the Robertsons make quite an impression – larger than Bill’s unmistakable laugh!
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