Buie Family Farm: A legacy of growing cotton

by | Nov 13, 2020

Every Friday on social media, we post a Farm Feature Friday showcasing one of our dedicated North Carolina farmers. Jack Buie, of Buie Family Farm, 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!

Jack Buie was raised on cotton farming and a tractor in Red Springs, North Carolina. “I loved it from the start,” he said, “one of the main reasons I started farming is because I loved being on the tractor so much. It’s my happy place.” Jack’s grandfather was a cotton buyer and farmer, starting with 300 acres and expanding as the next generation, Jack’s father, grew the business. Now 3,500 acres total, Buie Family farm grows cotton, corn, soybeans, wheat and strawberries.

“About a third of our acres is cotton,” Jack says, “we grow varieties like Deltapine and Stoneville because they have good support behind them and grow well in our area.” Cotton starts going in the ground around the first of May and is harvested from the first of October through November. A typical day on the farm can encompass a variety of tasks based on the season, including spreading fertilizer, planting and harvesting. “It is not a typical eight to five job around here,” Jack says, “we work until the work is done.” Cotton farming has historically been an economy booster and staple crop in North Carolina.

Although it is very rewarding when things are running smoothly and a good crop is harvested, Jack faces many challenges as a cotton farmer in today’s society, including the weather and constant fluctuations in pricing. “We are really at the mercy of the market,” Jack said, “and I have seen it change from $0.94 per pound to $0.64 per pound in two years.”

According to Jack, the life of a cotton farmer is centered around a lot of hope and prayer that yields will pay off at the end of the year. “Most people ride by, see our equipment and think we are rich but it’s just not true,” Jack says, “we are no different than those who get a paycheck at the end of each month, except ours comes at the end of the year.” He also wants to remind people that picking cotton is only half the process. “There is a lot of infrastructure that goes into it, but despite the challenges, it is very rewarding at the end of the day to provide jobs to people and see the product you created turn into a nice pair of jeans or a shirt,” Jack said. The Buie Family sends their cotton each year to the Carolinas Cotton Growers Cooperative who distributes it to various buyers and retailers.

Whether he is driving the tractor or completing paperwork, Jack enjoys listening to Song of the South by Alabama because he relates to the lyrics and is proud to be a farmer.

Aerial View of Buie Family Farm