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When Talladega County Farmers Federation President Hugh White closed down his dairy operation last January, it was the last dairy in the county.

-- Photo by Darryal Ray

Name:
James H. (Jimmy Hugh) White Jr.

Age:
59

Residence:
Eastaboga

Alfa Member Since:
1974

Current Office or Board:
President, Talladega County Farmers Federation

Previous Office(s) or Board:
Previously served as vice president of Talladega County Farmers Federation, the county's dairy committee chairman, its Young Farmer chairman and as state dairy committee member and chairman.

Other Farming Activities:
President of the Talladega County Farmers Co-op for six years and on the board for about nine years.

My Farm:
White's farm was begun by his grandfather as a dairy operation and remained so until January 2010, becoming the last dairy in the county to cease operation. Today, White raises commercial beef cattle. "When Dad and I went into business together in 1974, it was 150 acres," White said. "Now, I have 525 acres, divided up into two plots -- one really good farm on Choccolocco Creek and one farm that's a mile from an interstate and is valuable."

What I Like Most About Agriculture:
"I never liked working for anyone else, and really never have. I went to school to get away from agriculture -- that's what my parents always prepared me for. I went to school for two years in engineering with the thought of transferring to Auburn, but after two years, decided I didn't want to do that and changed to accounting with the intention of working public for two years to get my CPA. When I got my degree, my Dad offered me the opportunity to go into partnership with him as an equal partner, and I decided to come back. It gave me the opportunity to raise my children on the farm, be my own boss and work at my own pace -- if you can call working 14 hours a day pacing yourself. The farm's been good to me -- a lot better than I've been to the farm. I don't live to farm and I don't farm to live but I do enjoy it."

The Biggest Challenge Farmers Face:
"Probably the government regulations. The hard part, though, is just getting involved in it -- you must either marry into it or be born into it. If you had enough money to start farming, you could probably put your money in the bank and make more money. But it is not an occupation, it's a way of life. Most people -- especially dairy people -- don't choose to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week. It's just not what everybody jumps at. So that's a challenge. The farming industry as a whole is aging out, especially the dairy business, which is not a good thing. But we have some good Young Farmers coming along and we're still eating regular as citizens in the United States so it could be worse."

I Am Proudest Of:
I'm proud of my family, proud of my faith and proud, at 59, to be still living on the farm and out of debt.

My Family:
Married to wife Donna for 36 years; two daughters, Jamie Katherine and Amy; three granddaughters, Avery (8), Alexandra (6) and Katie James (5); one grandson, Griffith (3); sister Katherine; mother, Katherine. Father, James Hugh White Sr., is deceased.

My Faith:
Deacon of Eastaboga Baptist Church since 1975 where he has taught Sunday school for the last 38 years.

You May Not Know:
"I am not what most people typically see as a farmer. I've even had other farmers tell me that. I don't smoke, I don't dip, I don't chew, I don't hunt. The last time I went fishing was 1966 -- I went with my Dad and I really enjoyed it, and always said if I ever retired, I'd go again. My hobbies are tennis, chess, photography and golf. And I don't have time for golf because it's in the daytime, tennis I still enjoy and my photography is photographing my grandchildren.

-- Compiled by Darryal Ray


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