This month we celebrate fathers. What an important role they play in our lives. Whether a daughter or son, dads are a big deal!
It's rare that I interview a producer who doesn't mention their dad and the influence they've had in their lives, farming practices or work ethic. Often their dads helped them get started in farming through a partnership or acquire land or loaned them equipment until they could get on their own two feet.
I recently worked with two producers who both mentioned their fathers. In honor of Father's Day, I asked them to tell me about their dads and their influence in their lives.
Jim Massey, named after his father James Luther Massey III, lost his dad in 2012 to lung cancer. Up until his death, they were farming partners. Jim said his dad was known as Big Jim, while he was nicknamed Little Jim.
"I loved it as a kid, hated it as a teen and young adult, and now it reminds me of him so I have come to appreciate it," he said. Jim described his dad as direct and blunt. "You never had to wonder how he felt. He did not sugar coat stuff," he said.
On the farm, Jim's dad was adamant about clean fields and taught him not to try to save $1 an acre using cheaper, less-effective products only to spend more on the expensive option later. "It doesn't always hold true, but more often than not, it does.
"He taught me to take the time to do jobs the right way the first time, so you don't have to do them over again. Probably the most important lesson was the value of your reputation and integrity. Those two things are nearly impossible to fix once you've damaged them."
Jon Whatley described his father Robert as "the most glass-half-full" kind of person. "He was always open if you had a plan," he said, adding that flexibility was essential as well. "Be flexible and work with Mother Nature," his dad would say.
Jon called his dad a great teacher and partner. "He always wanted to see change and gave me a chance to bring in new ideas. He wasn't stuck in last year but always moved forward."
He also provided perspective as Jon transitioned his tillage practices. "I think about my dad back in the 80s, when they went from beds to flat farming. It took them five to six years to get it right, sometimes longer, and they were still battling at times. As I started this and he was still farming, he said, 'It took me forever to get flat farming down; it's going to take you forever to get this the way you want it, too.'"
What impact has your dad had? The truth is if you're a dad, your role is vital. Have a wonderful day being celebrated. And never forget, you're a big deal!