Waymond Nettles: Sowing Dreams and Cultivating Legacies
In the sun-kissed landscapes of Waymond Nettles’ farming adventure, each chapter unfolds with the rhythm of cattle grazing, the hum of tractors, and the heartbeat of a man deeply connected to the land. Today, at 65, Waymond is a testament to a lifetime dedicated to nurturing beef cattle and a profound love for farming. As we explore the remarkable journey of Mr. Nettles, his experiences, and the wisdom he shares, we invite you into a world where passion, perseverance, and a touch of humor intertwine.
How the Journey Began: A Twist of Fate and a Promise Kept
In the beginning, there was a horse, a pasture, and a young Waymond Nettles with a trade that would set the course for a lifelong passion. At age 15, young Nettles got a mama cow from a guy dating his mom – as payback for his horse, which had died at the gentleman’s farm. He recalls, “I got a cow out of that deal, a mama cow from the guy dating my mom,” Waymond reminisces with a smile. “That was the start of my farming journey, a promise kept, and a lifetime of adventure.”
Waymond ‘s involvement in farming grew beyond a mere livelihood from that lucky moment. “I saw the opportunities, heard the advice, and connected with these animals. It became more than a job; it became a passion and a calling,” he reflects.
Building a Herd, a Home, and a Future
As the cows grew, so did Waymond ‘s vision. “I started with that one mama cow, which soon became two cows and two calves,” he recounts. “And now, I think I got about 350 in all. Yeah, I got them in different places.” The journey involved strategic purchases, hard work, and the opportunity to acquire his own property.
He notes, “…having the cows gave me an opportunity to buy my own property. I had them, and I was renting the property from people, pastures from people to keep them on, and I’d go in and get all the property fixed up and get everything going well. So, I just stopped doing it and started buying my own property.”
“The first property I bought was three and a half acres from my uncle. I built my house on it. So, we got the house built and paid for it in about two years,” he proudly shares. The vision extended to acquiring more land, with 65 acres leading to 88 more. “I wanted to set myself up for retirement, and having the cattle complemented my other endeavors.” Mr. Nettles’s expansion mirrors the thoughts of Ralph Paige of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, “Land is the only real wealth in this country, and if we don’t own any, we’ll be out of the picture.”
Diversifying Income: Logging and Livestock
Waymond ‘s strategic thinking didn’t stop at farming; it extended to his other venture – owning a logging company. “I had my logging crew, and it gave me a lot of income that I could use to buy more cows,” he explains. “Having the logging crew supplemented the cattle, ensuring a steady flow of income even during tough times.”
This diversified approach was about more than just finances for Waymond. It was a well-thought-out plan to secure a future and maintain a lifestyle. “I made plans to retire at age 65. Having the logging crew and the cattle ensured me a safety net,” he adds.
Overcoming Obstacles: The Reality of Being a Black Farmer
Despite the successes, Waymond acknowledges his challenges as a Black farmer. “Once I started selling my cows, there was this bias at the sale. They’d cut the prices down just because they could,” he recalls. “To combat that, I aimed for the best breed, worked twice as hard, and accepted that life demands double the effort.”
His commitment to overcoming obstacles extends beyond personal triumphs. Waymond actively encourages others, especially young people, to get involved in farming. “If that’s something you want to do, go for it. You can’t go wrong,” he says, sharing his journey as an inspiration.
Vivian’s Door: A Bridge to Opportunities
Amidst the challenges, Waymond found support in Vivian’s Door, a nonprofit assisting Black farmers. “It’s about real help and tangible progress,” he notes. “They’re working on programs that can help me extend my farm. It’s not about getting something for nothing but assistance without drowning in interest payments.”
Passing on Wisdom: A Legacy Beyond Livestock
Waymond believes in the importance of passing on knowledge. “If there’s anything I can do to get more interest in Black farming, count me in,” he passionately states. “We need to have tours, show people how to be a farmer, and inspire the next generation.”
His commitment to the future goes beyond his family. “If you need information concerning farming, I’ll be glad to help.” His enthusiasm to pass along what he knows resonates with the words of David Jackson – “Do what you love to do and be around things that make you smile. The cows make me smile every day.”
A Closing Note: The Heartbeat of a Proud Black Farmer
As we conclude our journey through Waymond Nettles’ farming odyssey, his final words echo with humility and purpose. “I am a proud Black farmer – I know that the Lord has blessed me – I feel like he blessed me because he knew that I wasn’t going to be selfish with it.”
In those simple lines lies the essence of Waymond Nettles – a man proud of his craft, eager to share, and hopeful for the future of Black farming. May his story inspire a new generation of farmers, stewards of the land, and architects of their legacies.