In May, as I met with our Southwest Peanut Efficiency Award winners, Jared and Lexi Floyd, we discussed everything from peanut production to raising show steers to their children. Of all we discussed, Jared spoke often of his father, Randy.
Jared reminisced about how as a young boy, his dad went to Missouri and bought him his first Polled Hereford calves, uncovering Jared’s passion for cattle, something he continues to love today.
He talked about their shared passion for hunting. When Jared was nine-years-old, he said he remembers shooting his first deer in Ozona, Texas, with the butt of his gun resting on his dad’s shoulder. As adults Jared recalls harvesting large mule deer together, “Just being there with each other when we shot those meant a lot.” Or their most memorable hunting excursion, an elk hunt Jared bought for his dad and himself, in 2013. “I’ll never forget that.”
But it’s the tragic events of 2007 and the days, months and years of rehabilitation that followed which would cement their relationship. Jared, an ag teacher at the time, was driving home from a stock show, when he had a head-on collision with another pickup that had veered into his lane from the opposite side of the highway. As the accident occurred, Jared happened to be on the phone with his dad asking him about his day – it was opening day of hunting season. His dad heard everything. The crash, along with the horrific moments that followed.
After being in a coma for weeks, Jared woke to the words of his doctor saying, “You will never walk again.” At the time of the wreck, Jared stood 6’5. Following his accident and several surgeries, he had lost 9 centimeters in his legs, making him 6’1. But Jared’s doctors didn’t get the last word. He would eventually progress from a wheelchair to a walker to walking on his own. But Jared admits it was a long, difficult road to recovery.
When Jared spoke of his recovery, he talked about his father. Randy did everything from physically bathing him to loading him in the pickup and driving to the farms. “I loved looking at the farms and looking at the cattle,” Jared said. “It's the little things you don't realize you miss until you are down and out.”
His first time back on the farm, Jared recalled his dad lifting him into the tractor. Because his left leg had lost so much muscle, he wasn’t able to push in the clutch. “I had to use both of my hands to push my leg to the clutch. I’ll never forget that. But it made me so proud to get back on it.”
Today, Jared and his father farm on their own and yet help each other during planting and harvest. “My dad is a way better farmer than me. I’ve learned a lot from him.”