You have probably heard the saying that behind every successful man is a great woman. Matt and Kelly Griggs have that kind of partnership in their farming operation near Humboldt, Tenn.
The saying you may not hear as often is that behind every good farmer is a good landlord or set of landlords who understand what the farmer is trying to do to take care of their land while paying rent and staying in business.
“We want to thank all of our landlords,” said Matt Griggs, who was accepting The Cotton Foundation High Cotton Award for the Mid-South Region for 2020. “The majority of our landlords have been with us many years and have seen us struggle with mistakes and hardships.”
Matt and Kelly Griggs were honored along with the winners from the other Farm Press regions during the High Cotton Awards Breakfast, which is held annually with the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show in Memphis, Tenn.
Those landlords stuck with the young farmer, he said, “when I was faced with having to take over the farm when I was 25 years old after my dad suddenly passed away.
“They’ve seen us completely change the way the way we farm and having labored with some of the radical changes we’ve implemented. They continue to trust us in the fact that we are looking out for their best interests and improving their investment. I can’t thank them enough.”
His wife, Kelly, talked about leaving the Chicago suburbs where she grew up and moving to Tennessee in 2001 and marrying Matt in 2006. She became a fulltime partner in the farming operation in 2011.
She said she wanted to thank her husband because “honestly, he is the brains and the science behind this farm. This man is researching all the time, constantly figuring out ways to better improve our farm, our business and agriculture as a whole.”
She also singled out Zach Wilson, the farm’s employee, for his role. “He literally makes coming to the farm an adventure every single day. He works so hard, and he truly loves farming, and he loves our farm. If you have someone like that, you don’t ever let them go.”
They believe taking better care of the soil is one of the most important things they can do on their farm. But they also believe in going the extra mile to educate consumers about what it’s like living on a farm and being involved in farming.
“My goal for the future is to continue to educate people via social media and spread the truth about what a farming family does,” she said. “There is so much negativity out there toward farmers today that a lot of us are starting to go to social media and show people everyday truths, everyday hardships and how much we care about providing complete strangers the best fiber and food we can provide them.”