Shelley E. Huguley
Don Duff has been farming since he was 13. Work is all he's ever known. The son of a World War II veteran who was a sharpshooter and fought in the Battle of the Bulge, Don was thrust into running the family farm after his father suffered three heart attacks while Don was a teen. By the age of 21, Don had produced his first crop. At 24, his daddy, I.J. Duff, had passed away.
"I've worked my whole life," says Don. "I don't know anything else."
Growing up, Don recalls his dad growing hegari, a white-seeded sorghum, to feed to the cattle. "Dad had a one-row, row binder. He would cut one row at a time and then the binder would bundle the hegari and wrap them with twine. These bundles then laid on the ground.
"When I was a kid, I would shock them, which means, I'd go through the field and stand a group of them against each other like a teepee. And then you'd hope they'd hold up and stay off the ground, because it if rained on them, they would ruin. Then a few days later, after they dried out, I'd pick up all the teepees, put them on a trailer, and we'd take them to the barn. We had a grinder with a big belt mounted on the PTO of a old 4020 tractor. It had a big round drum and I'd put the hegari in there, grind it and blow it into the feeder. That's what I did every summer."