By U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly
One of my favorite things about my home state are the families who spend their lives cultivating the land. Their devotion to raising everything from corn to soybeans helps them make a living and at the same time feeds and clothes families well beyond the south.
One such family is Billy and Cala Tabb of Eupora, owners of Old Walthall Farms in Webster County. Billy began farming at the age of 21. He decided to walk in his father’s footsteps and take a chance on what farmers call “The Big Gamble.”
Billy began with 185 acres he leased from his father. He was able to make his dreams come true with a federal Farm Service Agency loan of $83,000. His first endeavor was planting cotton. Over the years, their yields have grown to include corn, soybeans and peanuts.
The Tabbs’ hard work in the fields is paying off in the form of recognition. Billy and Cala received the 2016 American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmer & Rancher Award.
Farming continues to be a passion in our state for many families, but at the same time, there are obstacles. Too often, navigating the red tape of government regulations makes a difficult job even more complicated. I’m working hard in Washington to get the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies to give farmers more control over their land — just as those who came before them had.
Agriculture is a top industry in Mississippi and I look forward to continuing to use my role on the House Agriculture Committee to advance polices that encourage rural development and allow those in the agriculture industry, like the Tabb family, to continue to innovate and succeed.
I’ll have more stories like this in the coming months as I continue my spotlight on agriculture. If there is a family or individual in agriculture that you would like to nominate, please contact my office.
Trent Kelly is a U.S. representative serving Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District. Connect with Kelly through his website, www.trentkelly.house.gov, or contact his district office in the Eupora Depot (855 S. Dunn St.) at 258-7240.