Good Stewardship of the Land Important to This Grower
Sammy Perkins and his wife, Terri, and two grown children, Lafe and Samantha, are a fourth-generation farming family living in the southwest corner of Georgia near Whigham. Sammy owns and leases Perkins Farm, which grows peanuts, cotton, corn, pecans and includes pasture for 350 head of cattle.
Farming is part of Perkins’ family roots. “As soon as I was big enough to walk, I went everywhere on the farm with my dad, watching him plant crops. In high school, I started making money by planting okra and squash. When I saw I could make a living, I knew running a farm was what I wanted to do.”
Sammy graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy in 1982. After college, he started farming with his father and brother. He bought land when he could, formed a partnership with his father and built his acreage into what it is today.
What does Sammy like most about farming? “The stress,” he laughed. “I enjoy it. I like seeing the progress technology has made over the past thirty years and the challenges of making my operation grow.”
Sammy has grown peanuts every year since he started farming. “We’ve increased our acreage over the years and it varies from year to year based on price and rotation.”
More than a decade ago, Perkins Farms was recognized by the Natural Resources Conservation Service for outstanding efforts in soil conservation, improvements of waterways, strip tilling. Sammy is involved with the Georgia Peanut Commission, among other organizations.
“I benefit most from organizations like the National Peanut Board because of their support of research,” says Sammy. “Research dollars are how farmers got to where we are today. It’s one of the reasons Americans have such a high-quality, safe and affordable food supply.”
The Perkins farming tradition is likely to continue. His son Lafe graduated in 2012 from the University of Georgia with a master’s degree in Agriculture Economics. “He has helped on the farm since he was young, too, and has learned a lot of the same things I did growing up,” said Sammy. “I hope he’ll take over the farm someday.”