After graduating from Mississippi State University in 1958, former student body president Ted Kendall III set out to take on the world, or at least a small part of it. The agriculture graduate moved home to Bolton to work on his family farm, but quickly realized how little he knew.

“I went to work for my great uncle in December of 1958,” Kendall says. “Unfortunately he passed away in April of ’59, and that’s when I found out how little I really knew. I had to go to work learning. Being a part of this farm continues to be a great experience for me.”

Gaining experience and working hard led Kendall to his position today, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Gaddis and McLaurin, Inc. In addition, he is also the past president of the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association and the Mississippi Beef Council, was named the 1998 Sunbelt Farmer of the Year and served as a board member for his area Boy Scout Council.

Still, as a rancher and farmer, it is the simple accomplishments that make him the most satisfied.

“Making a successful crop and making the numbers end up right at the end of the year is what gives me the most pleasure,” Kendall says. “Also, as the years went on, being able to take care of the rest of the family who owned the farm was rewarding.”

As a farmer with more than 50 years of experience, Kendall believes younger farmers should find someone they can trust to give them needed encouragement and advice to keep them going.

“Go to people who are doing whatever you are doing, who’ve done it, and get some advice because,” he says. “You can read the paper and read the books, but people that have experienced it are the best source of information for you going forward.”

Today, Kendall spends his days keeping a close eye on how the farm’s cotton gin is running and how much cotton is processed. He also counts his blessings as he watches his son improve on his life’s work.

“I’ve just been blessed with a lot of support and good health over the years. I have really, really enjoyed it. But, I also really enjoy watching this next generation take over ‘cause it’s a new world,” Kendall says.

“When I got here in 1959, I bought a little D6 bulldozer and started pushing down trees and raising more cows,” he continues. “When Ted (Kendall IV) got here in the ‘80s, he started planting the trees back and cutting the cow herd down. It was a good thing. He’s got a better balance than we had back in those days.”