By Mark H. Stowers
AIn 1986, Carl Deloach moved from Bolivar County to Leflore County to farm for himself. Cotton, soybeans, rice, corn and wheat were some of the crops that have been cultivated over the years. These days, his son Bubba works the acreage just north of Itta Bena.
“He (Carl) was raised on a small family farm and when he left, he got another job in a different industry. Then he managed a farm for a gentleman in Shelby. He left there and we moved to Benoit and my dad worked for Delta Pine,” Bubba Deloach says. “In 1986, he got the opportunity to farm land of his own, and we moved to Greenwood.”
Deloach was a student at Delta State, and was ready to join his father on the turnrow.
“I’d always loved farming, but my dad always told me he didn’t want me working for somebody else in farming,” Deloach says. “So, in 1986 we got the opportunity to go out on our own in Leflore County, and we’ve been here ever since.”
The Deloach’s have farmed a little of everything, but this growing season they have their acres tied up in cotton, soybeans and corn. With three full-time and two part-time workers, Deloach keeps all the acres as productive as possible. One way to do that is to keep the equipment running efficiently as possible through the farm shop. But these days, the technology on farm equipment has begun to limit the work that can be done in the farm shop.
“We used to do a lot of our own work, but things have become so technologically advanced that it’s hard for us to even do much anymore,” he says. “You have to have a computer plugged up to the equipment to work on it. However, we can still do the simple daily wear and tear repairs.”
Their shop runs 50-feet by 120-feet and has the basics in it to work on equipment.
“We have an extensive amount of welding equipment. We also have a tractor shed on the back of the big shop, and a seed house where we store seed and chemical,” he says. “All of these buildings we have built since we started this farm. We built the main shop about fifteen years ago.”
“We try to stay lean on labor, and we don’t do a lot of mechanic type work. We do welding, but it’s not a shop that operates like the big farms you see in mid-west farming magazines,” he says. “When equipment was a lot more simple we did everything. We repaired our own combine, but now the machines are so electrical, it’s just not feasible for us to do it anymore.”
The mix of farm equipment has plenty of brand colors. “We have a little bit of everything. We have John Deere, Case, Lexion combines, some AGCO tractors – we kind of have a Heinz 57 mix. We’re not particularly loyal to any brand. Whatever piece of equipment we have that meets the purpose at the time is what we run,” he says. “What we find that has the best deal on is what we have. We have some high hour equipment. Most of our equipment is around 2010 to 2012 model. Some of it may be a little older than that.”
Deloach understands the blessing of a good shop as he keeps his equipment in tip-top shape for planting and harvest.
“If something tears up we fix it immediately, we don’t wait,” he says. “I send my combine to Thompson Machinery here that sells Lexion. I have them go through it every year for preventative maintenance.”
With a couple thousand acres of soybeans as well as 600 plus acres of corn, the combine gets a good workout. The rest of the acreage is dedicated to cotton though Deloach used to plant quite a bit of rice.
“Rice used to be our staple crop. We planted a lot of rice for years but as we got into more Roundup crops we started having Roundup effects on rice. We’ll plant rice every now and then, but only when the market is good,” he says. “We’re on a rotation program and for the most part, we’ve taken rice out of the rotation and put in corn due to the labor involved and the Roundup issues.”
Most of his workforce has been with him for more than fifteen years and they’ve all taken to the new technology.
“Most people pick up on it quickly, it’s easy to learn. We do have a self-propelled sprayer that I operate, but the Autosteer is easy to pick up on,” he says.
Growing up in Benoit, Deloach spent a lot of time at Lake Whittington skiing and enjoying the water. But these days he’s busy on the farm. He and his wife Kim have three children, who have all spent time helping out on the farm from time to time. Their oldest Taylor is a nurse practitioner in Jackson. Hardin is a medical school student on the island of Grenada, and their youngest son Madison is a professional duck hunting guide in Louisiana, and also works at the family’s business, Deloach Insurance Services.
The long-time Mississippi State fans, Bubba and Kim, have the classic split Mississippi family.
“Somehow both of my boys are diehard obnoxious Ole Miss fans,” he says with a laugh. “My youngest didn’t go to Ole Miss, but he is a big Manning family fan. The late Bubbla Tollison was our entomologist and he played football with Archie at Ole Miss. He was a member of Fighting Bayou Hunting Club, and they’d invite us over there to hunt. My son and Bubba talked Ole Miss football all the time. Every year the Manning family came down and went hunting and we were invited over and that just made my son much more of a diehard fan.”
In his Bulldog best, Deloach continues to work the land his father procured decades back and provide for his Rebel faithful.