Every Friday on social media, we post a Farm Feature Friday showcasing one of our dedicated North Carolina farmers. Mac Griffin, of Cotton Incorporated, is one of those farmers. The #FarmFeatureFriday campaign will run through December 2021 on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Be sure to tune in each Friday afternoon on social and help show your support for our local farmers!
Meet Mac Griffin, a North Carolina cotton farmer and member of the N.C. Cotton Producer board. His family has been in the cotton industry for over 100 years, starting with his great-grandfather, Charles B. Griffin, and his brother operating Woodville Supply Cotton Gin in Lewiston. Years later, in 1982, Mac’s dad, Johnny, started farming in Bertie County and built the farm that would eventually become Cotton Incorporated. “Growing up, I remember riding on the tractor with my dad and helping him around the farm,” Mac said, “but it took a few years of being away from the farm after college for me to realize how much I loved it.” Mac returned home to help around the farm when his father needed back surgery in 2011 and has stayed ever since.
Today, Mac and his family grow 3,000 acres of cotton annually. During their peak season, Mac is involved in many areas around the farm, including equipment maintenance, spraying, logging data and planting.
“You have to wear a lot of hats as a cotton farmer,” he says, “but it is very rewarding to see something grow from all the hard work and effort you put in. My dad is still very involved with the farm and I am thankful that I get to work side by side with him each and every day.”
Cotton Incorporated grows all dryland, Deltapine cotton, which Mac says is a high quality, uniform variety of cotton and has been a top variety in the industry for the past four years. It is not only known for creating a very uniform product, but for also being reliable and sustainable year after year. The Griffin’s do not irrigate any of their land so weather can either be a benefit or a struggle for Mac and his family. “The variability of the weather can get hard sometimes, especially when we are waiting for rain,” Mac says. However, according to Mac and his family, the pride they feel in creating quality cotton, which translates to quality products, far outweighs the struggles.
Despite the rewards and the struggles, the cotton industry has provided many jobs for people in North Carolina and is used in far more than clothing. “Many people do not know that cotton seed is actually used in many products around the world, from dairy cattle feed to oil,” he said, “there are a lot of things that it is involved in and it has been a major money maker for the state of North Carolina for many years.” All the cotton from his farm is sent to the Carolina Cotton Growers Cooperative and shipped for use in products like these and more.
When asked what his great-grandfather, Charles, would say if he could see the farm today, Mac says that he would probably be speechless because the cotton industry is now a completely different world. “My great-grandfather came from tenant farming,” he said, “and if he could see the way we do things now, I think he would be amazed to see the industry, the people and the technology that has been developed to improve the nature of what we do and how we do it.” When he is not out farming cotton, Mac enjoys watching the Star Wars movies. “I am a big fan of the old ones,” he says, “but I know that things have to evolve and change, just like agriculture did, so I will get on board with the new ones as well.”