Bud Baggett is what many refer to as a ‘good ole boy’. Contrary to what that term means in some contexts, it means Bud is there for anyone anytime of the day or night. He’s a friend to all and an enemy to none.
Baggett grew up farming with his grandad Ellis Baggett and his father Larry Baggett. Unlike some young men, he never shied away from work, never was one to look to get off this farm for city life. Bud learned early the joy of working for himself. Bud is one of the most highly visible young farmers in the Marianna/Jackson County area. You might say that he showed an interest in farming early on; in fact, he practically grew up walking behind or riding the tractor with his grandfather and his dad on the same land where he still lives and farms. At age 39, Bud tells us that this year is his 20th crop year. He says that farming is and always has been the life for him. Baggett reports that he currently farms cotton, peanuts, oats and raises cattle. With over 2200 acres of cotton and 1200 acres of peanuts, he is quick to say that farming is not for everyone. The physical and mental demands of farming keep him and his employees more than busy. Six full time and 21 part time employees help to do all farm work, equipment upkeep, and stay involved in contract grazing for over 1100 head of cattle. The group also farms 600 acres of oats.
Bud gives much credit for his ability to farm to his grandfather, Ellis Baggett, and his dad, Larry Baggett. During the past years, the three men have done a lot work together; however, Bud and his dad now farm under separate entities. The young farmer has many compliments to give about his family, “I learned so much from them; especially, I learned to love and respect nature and the joy of being able to work outside, be my own boss. Sure, it can be hard work with more work than hours in a day. Still, I know it is the career for me because there is just something about the process of planning, preparing the soil, planting, caring for the crops, and harvesting.” He says the managerial parts of farming can get next to you when there is so much you don’t feel you can control; finances are challenging because you want to spend wisely and always be calculating toward making a profit.
As with many other segments of life, farming is very different than it was when Bud was a youngster. Technology has a huge influence upon the operation of the equipment and upon recordkeeping as well. Regulations and restrictions give any farmer a lot to think about as he “makes his farm plan.” GPS and auto steer has helped the farmer become more efficient with the money and time he spends, the elimination of waste can increase margin of profit. Baggett is quickly to say farming has come a long way from the time he spent helping his dad and grandad.
A graduate of Marianna High School, Bud was a very good student and a student athlete. Certainly, he could have chosen any career but he contends that “farming chose him.” Bud is married to Desiree Trejo Baggett, and father to sons Connor (7), Sam (11) and daughter Grace (19). Bud spends time with his family and he fully supports their activities from the fields at Optimist Park to the sidelines at Mariana High School. The family can often be seen all together at school or sports events or even at the salon (A Wild Hair) that Desiree owns or Bud’s newest venture, Crosshairs. Bud has always had an interest in guns and weapons so it is fitting that he would own and operate a gun shop.
Despite the challenges that he faces with so much depending on circumstances like the weather that are beyond his control, Bud says that “The Lord has been good to us; it’s been a good life. I enjoy what I do. It helps a ton that my family fully supports me in it and knows there are times when their time with me is limited because of the long hours during planting and harvesting.” He has high praise for his hard- working dad saying he couldn’t have done it without him, “Dad has been my teacher and we work well together.” “I have read that if a person chooses to do something he really likes, he never has to work a day.” Farming is all that I ever have wanted to do. That and my family is the perfect life for me.”
The publisher and staff at the TIMES salutes Bud Baggett for putting food on the table and clothes on the backs of so many.