Gardening & Farming

Published on May 18th, 2012 | by TLV News


Who’s Your Farmer: Billy Ray Brown of Brown Family Dairy (from The Local Voice #156)

What brought you to the area? I’ve lived here my entire life.

How did you get started in agriculture? When I was about 15 years old I started buying beef cattle. As I got older I started working for different farms and different farmers around the area while I continued growing my beef cattle on the side.

What is a typical work day like? Typically six days a week on the dairy farm we milk the cows every 12 hours. We start about 5:30-6:00 and it generally takes about an hour to an hour and a half. Some mornings I bottle milk. There’s always a fence to be fixed or hay that needs to be bailed and animals that need to be checked. If a store needs a delivery I’ll do that. I have part time help with milking the cows and my wife helps with milking during the evening. I stay in the hay fields working. Sunday we try to do your basic chores. Stop about dark.

What do you do on rainy days? Whatever the weather is we work with it. We continue to work; it doesn’t matter about the rain. Of course all the dairy work is done indoors; the field work would be the only thing affected.

What do you like best about working on a farm? Working outside and working with the animals. Being your own boss. I’d say just complete freedom, even though I have to get up early every single morning I really do look forward to it. If I wasn’t doing it for myself I’d be working for someone. That’s what I’ve always done. I wouldn’t want to work inside a building.

What are you most proud of this year so far? The success the dairy has had. It was a pretty risky venture because it hadn’t really been done yet. We opened three years ago and the farm has really grown since then.

What are you most looking forward to this season? Every season we have different things going on, so I really just look forward to every day.

Funniest/strangest thing that has happened on the farm lately: Found a cow in the pit where the milking is done.

What’s your favorite vegetable? Butterbeans.

What’s your favorite insect? Cricket.

What’s your favorite music to listen to while digging in the ground? Merle Haggard.

Ever dug up (or found) anything strange/interesting/valuable? An arrowhead.

Name an uncommon vegetable that people should try: I’m more of a livestock man.

Tell us one thing about farming that most people probably don’t know: Most farmers truly do love what they do. You have to because there’s not enough money in it if you don’t.

Is there anything you’d like to see change about the way food is consumed in our community? Well, I could talk about that for a long time. I think it’s good for consumers to have an option. And to know the hands that produce it.

Name one piece of equipment you could not live without: My tractor.

Tell us one thing you’ve learned that you didn’t know when you first started farming: Milk comes out of the cow at about 99 or 100 degrees.

What is the best meal you’ve ever eaten? Rib eye steak and a baked potato.


Check out this awesome short film on Vimeo by Tyler Keith, Eric Griffis, and Meghan Leonard
for their Southern Studies Documentary Fieldwork Class Featuring the Brown Family Dairy in Oxford, Mississippi.

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About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.

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