AN ATTORNEY WHO practices law from
offices on his farm, James Vaughn of Forsyth,
Ga., is especially proud of converting a 650-
acre pine tree plantation over a ten-year
period into productive pastures on which he
raises forages for his beef cattle.
His success in cattle and timber production has resulted in his selection as state
winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo
Southeastern Farmer of the Year award for
A farmer for 35 years, Vaughn operates
5,590 acres of land. He owns the farm with
his sister and partner, Dr. Brenda Vaughn
Caldwell, and is assisted in daily farm management by his wife, Beth, and two sons,
Matthew and Jordan.
He grows timber on 4,000 acres. Recently-
planted stands are thinned for pulpwood and
are increasingly used as energy crops. “Our
timber sales are handled by our contract for-
ester,” he says. “Our goal is to convert natural
stands into plantations and to use shorter
In 2006, a root rot fungus infected the 650-
acre pine plantation he converted to grass-
lands, so he harvested the timber and began
to convert the land to grass, doubling the size
of his cattle herd and establishing a commer-
cial hay enterprise. “We took a bad situation
and turned it into
through hard work
from the USDA-
vice,” says Vaughn.
Vaughn with the
ing from the Envi-
(EQIP) and the Con-
ship Program (CSP).
Vaughn has identi-
fied another timber
tract that he may convert to grassland.
He grows non-irrigated bermudagrass hay
on 245 acres that yielded 6. 9 tons of forage
per acre in 2017. The farm markets hay in
BETH AND JAMES VAUGHN