FARM

The Covington News - - Front page -

de­mand has fallen off,” Tim Hodges ex­plained. “You just can’t tell from one year to the next.”

“That’s one rea­son why we do so many dif­fer­ent things now. If one crop doesn’t make it, you could make a profit from a dif­fer­ent crop,” Hodges added. “When you put your crop in the ground, you have to put all of your in­vest­ments in the crop; you have to buy seed, fer­til­izer, diesel, in­vest your time and la­bor. You don’t know un­til you har­vest your crop if you’re go­ing to get any money back or not. Some­times you’ll just break even, some­times you won’t.”

Along with er­ratic be­hav­ior of the econ­omy, weather also plays a ma­jor role on the Hodges’ farm. With­out an ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem, the only way for the farm to con­trol their wa­ter sup­ply would be to drill a well or pump wa­ter from the lake. How­ever, due to strict EPA reg­u­la­tions and the cost of drilling a well, the farm de­pends on rain to wa­ter their crops.

“Our land is so scat­tered it’s just not fea­si­ble to in­vest the money in drilling a well,” Hodges said. “When you plant your crops, the weather can be great and things could look good. But then the weather could change in a week. It was tough when we had that drought a few years back.”

The daily rou­tine on the farm de­pends on which crop is ready for har­vest. When a crop is ready, the pri­mary job of the day is to get the crop yielded as quickly as pos­si­ble.

“It can be quite hec­tic at times when the crops come in at the same time. For ex­am­ple, once the wheat is har­vested, you’d have to get the hay off the field and re­plant it with a new crop within a limited amount of time,” Hodges said. “The key to crop­ping is time. You have to be able to plant it on time, har­vest it on time and spray it on time. If you miss a few days, you could lose a crop.”

Hodges Farm also grows a small va­ri­ety of fruits and veg­eta­bles like corn, toma­toes, wa­ter­melon, squash, peas, and but­ter beans. If there’s a sur­plus of these fruits and veg­eta­bles, they give some to their friends or sell them to the pub­lic right from the farm.

“We used to grow a lot of fruits and veg­eta­bles. But it be­came tricky when the other crops like wheat would be ready to har­vest and be­cause veg­eta­bles and fruit have to be har­vested within a cou­ple of days, the wheat would have to be put on hold. It just be­came a con­flict of time. So now it’s mostly just a gar­den.”

De­spite all of the chal­lenges they face, the Hodges Farm con­tin­ues to move for­ward and work hard pro­duc­ing crops.

“We’re al­ways in search of a mar­ket we can mostly cater to, one that’s not widely farmed,” Hodges said. “With the econ­omy the way it is, find­ing a profitable mar­ket can be tough, but that’s why we’re still around af­ter all these years.”

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