Billy Goss is a true American farmer — a man who looks like he works the ground. The stamp of toil, sun, diesel and dust have toughened Goss, Goss Farms, Clarksdale, Miss., and given him the appearance of a man who belongs to the land. “There was never a time I can remember that I didn’t know I was going to be a farmer. Even as a little boy, I only wanted to farm.”
(For his complete story, see Billy Goss — living a life well farmed )
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1. The Rabbit
“It’s pure excitement when the season begins. I want to go, go, go. It’s like a kid at Christmas; that’s how I feel. I’m like that rabbit on television that keeps on going — that’s me," says Billy Goss, Goss Farms, Lyon, Miss.
2. Soybean Strong Horse
Goss rides soybeans as his strong horse and feels his current crop is excellent; possibly his best ever. Timely rains and cool summer temperatures have brought him a bumper harvest.
3. Shade-tree Engineer
“I’m a shade-tree engineer when it comes to water. I haven’t yet learned how to run it uphill, but I’m working on that.”
4. Farmall First
Goss flanked by a vintage Farmall tractor — the first he ever bought.
5. Goss Farms
Producer Billy Goss, Goss Farms, Lyon, Miss.
6. Steward of the Land
"I am a steward, responsible in that way to take care of the land. God only lets us keep the land for a certain length of time anyway because I can’t carry it with me and it’ll be left for my wife and kids.”
7. Reputation and Word
“Keep your reputation and your word. If you’ll do those two things you’ll make it fine in this world. Don’t lie and make false statements because here’s how it will end up: You won’t be able to remember what you said."
8. Pay the Bills
“Here’s a lesson: we don’t owe people today, and at my age it’s so comfortable not to owe. On top of that — and I’m very proud of this — the first land we ever bought, we borrowed the money and paid it off early. That’s the way we’ve always operated.”
9. 800 Acres
In 2013 Goss worked 800 acres of soybeans and will probably drop his planted acreage in 2014.
10. Prep for Spring
The 2013 harvest will end soon for Goss. He’ll plant wheat and then retreat to his shop, preparing his machinery for spring.
11. Four Walls
During the off-season, Goss won’t let four walls hem him in — house or shop. He hunts or fishes, admittedly at a gentle pace.
12. Witness to Change
An old cotton basket hanging in the Goss Farms shop offers testimony to the technological changes Goss has witnessed.
13. Farmer Forever
“There was never a time I can remember that I didn’t know I was going to be a farmer. Even as a little boy, I only wanted to farm.”
14. Dot and Billy
Dot and Billy Goss have been married 57 years. Dot handles all of the paperwork and marketing for Goss Farms — she knows how to sell and when: “I’m the one that gets the money,” Dot laughs. “When beans are up and I think it’s right, it’s time to sell. We’re not worried about hitting the high every time; we just don’t want to hit the low.”
15. Two Things in Life
“I know that God meant for me to do two things in this life. One, he meant for me to marry this young lady. Two, he meant for me to farm. Those are the things I know — and you can’t beat that.”