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Pat Buck of Emelle says he met his wife Sara in a soybean field where she'd brought her grandfather to 'see those crazy people plowing up pasture land to plant soybeans.'

-- Photo by Tommy Martin

James Patrick "Pat" Buck


Emelle, Ala., Sumter County

Alfa Member Since:

Current Office or Board:
President, Sumter County Farmers Federation, 1987-2011

Vice Chairman, State Soybean Committee

Previous Office(s) or Board:
State Soybean Committee (20 years), served as chairman in the past

State Board Member, District 8 (2007-2010)

Other Farming Activities:
Greene & Sumter County Farm Service Agency Committee (2000-2009)

Sumter County Extension System Advisory Board

My Farm:
Pat's farm, which sits just two miles from the Mississippi line, includes 350 acres of soybean, 300 acres of timber and a 160-head cow-calf operation that he works in cooperation with his son, Grant. "I've got to get something back in rotation with those soybeans," Pat says. "I used to raise milo (a grain sorghum), but it got to where the grain elevators wouldn't buy it. It had become such a niche crop that I couldn't find a place to sell it."

He briefly raised cotton and even opened a gin but shut it down in 1974. "A lot of this land in Sumter County was broken up and put into CRP (Conservation Reserve Program), and it never should've been," he says. "A lot of the top soil in this county washed away back during the Civil War, and the land had never recovered from that."

What I Like About Agriculture:
"I like being your own boss," says Pat. "As a young man, I worked in a factory in Memphis, Tenn., from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. -- that just was not for me."

Pat went on to explain that the factory was actually an International Harvester manufacturing plant, where his job was to bend metal with a machine called a brake. "They didn't make tractors, but they made farm equipment -- cotton pickers, hay cutters and rakes, that sort of thing," he said. "At that time, it was the largest factory in Memphis. I worked there about six months and then I came down here (to Sumter County). I found out that 8-to-5 wasn't for me."

The Biggest Challenge Facing Agriculture:
"The continuing rising cost of our input products, such as fuel, equipment and seed among all the other fees in today's market."

My Family:
Pat and his wife, Sara, have been married 38 years. They have one son, Grant (32), a daughter, Tally (34) and a son-in-law, Brian Young, along with two grandchildren, Brennan (5) and Lawson (2 1/2).

"The first year I was here, the spring of 1967, we were plowing up pasture land to plant soybeans and Sara brought her granddad down to there because he wanted to 'see those crazy people plowing up pasture land to plant soybeans,'" Pat says with a laugh. "She was 17 and still in high school, and I was 23. But as quick as she turned 18 I started calling on her. We didn't marry until five or six years later."

My Faith:
Member, Emelle Community Church.

Pat attended Arkansas State University in Jonesboro from 1961 to 1963 with plans to pursue a degree in biology, living in the same dormitory where his father had resided before he graduated from ASU in 1933.

He also served time in the Air Force Reserves during the Vietnam War, stationed at Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio.

A Good Day/Bad Day Is ...
"A good day is when I get up and all my body parts move in the same direction," says Pat. "I do not have bad days -- some are just better than others."

You May Not Know This About Me:
"I moved from Missouri to Alabama in 1966," says Pat. "My brother still lives there, and he and I still own the family farm in Missouri that belonged to our grandfather. He bought the place in 1900, cleared the land of all the cypress timber in 1910, and built the house in 1912 with lumber that came off the farm."

-- Compiled by Darryal Ray

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