For 70 years Mississippi’s
Paul Good has been a farmer
At age 90, Paul Good of Columbus, Miss., has had a long, distinguished, and very good career in farming, first in his home state of Indiana, then for the past 42 years in eastern Mississippi’s Noxubee County.
A farmer for 70 years, he’s old enough to remember rural
electrification coming to the farm, and young enough to have
used global positioning and variable rate applications.
His success as a crops farmer has resulted in Good being
selected as the state winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt
Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award. He joins nine
other individuals as finalists for the overall award that will be
announced Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the Sunbelt Expo.
Good started farming full time in 1946 with 220 acres of
rented land; today he farms 1,050 acres, of which 90 acres is
rented and 960 acres owned. His irrigated corn yield last year was
208.9 bushels per acre on 335.3 acres; dryland corn on 80. 2 acres
yielded 175.2 bushels; irrigated full season soybeans on 211.1
acres yielded 64.96 bushels; and dryland full season soybeans on
81 acres yielded 53. 61 bushels. Double-crop soybeans on 127.5
acres yielded 49. 43 bushels; and wheat on 127.5 acres yielded
61. 38 bushels. His catfish operation produced 5,596.9 pounds per
acre of ponds.
MORE PROFITABLE OPTIONS
He grew cotton for many years, but recently focused on growing
corn and soybeans because they were more profitable. He added
center pivot irrigation in 2007 and now irrigates 800 of the 960
acres he farms. He uses information on soil type and yield maps to
adjust seeding with his variable rate planter.
Good has used chicken litter for many years for crop fertilizer
needs and to help build up soil nutrient levels. Minor elements
such as zinc have helped him boost corn test weight. Starter
fertilizer and split nitrogen applications also help his corn, as does
fertilizer applied through irrigation just prior to tasseling.
His conservation practices include the installation of drain
tile, terraces, and
on his farm. He also
has used minimum-
till and no-till
planting, and has
worked closely with
and industry representatives to test new varieties and chemicals.
One on-farm trial was aimed at controlling plant bugs in cotton,
and another evaluated the benefits of chicken litter.
“I plan to install more drain tile, use more cover crops, and find
better ways of conserving land and water,” he says. “I will also
continue my work with variety testing plots in cooperation with
university and industry representatives to gain more knowledge
about new technology.”
DIVIDED WITH CHILDREN
Until several years ago, Good farmed about 2,500 acres, but he has
cut back on his farming to distribute a portion of his land to his
children. “We took 1,260 acres and divided it among our children,”
As a child during the Great Depression, he milked cows and
shucked corn by hand on his father’s Indiana farm. “We milked
all of our cows by hand until 1938 or 1939, when we got rural
electrification on our farm,” he says.
He also remembers the Dust Bowl in the upper Midwest. “In
the north, we faced wind erosion and blowing dust, while in the
South we face soil erosion from water,” he says. He was drafted
into the Army during World War II, but was given an exemption.
“The country needed me more on the farm growing food than it
needed me in the Army,” he recalls. He also remembers rationing
of rubber for the war e;ort, but as a farmer, his father was able to
buy tires when others couldn’t.
In the 1940s and early 1950s, before herbicides were used, he
Paul Good and wife Joyce, top, and Paul Good
and Dennis Reginelli, who nominated Paul for the
Farmer of the Year award.