From a soft breeze to the soothing sound of wind chimes on his porch where he surveys his property with his wife of 55 years, Jacob MeGehee strives to live simply.

“I like to call myself a simple minded person,” MeGehee says. “There’s just something wonderful about seeing a squirrel run along the top of the fence, grabbing a pecan and then running off with it. Being raised on the Pearl River Swamp made me like the outdoors. There’s something thrilling to me about picking up a ripe persimmon that’s fallen of a tree in a pasture. A child in town doesn’t get that experience.”

MeGehee grew up on a south Mississippi dairy where he learned how to care for animals and his community from his parents. Those early life lessons led him to dedicate his life to agriculture, specifically raising cattle and working to keep the heart of rural Mississippi beating for today’s younger generation.

“I’m just interested in helping our young people have the same opportunity that I’ve had,”MeGehee says. “There’s been nothing but golden years while working in agriculture, and I want my children and grandchildren to have the same opportunities that I had.”

A pilot in Vietnam, MeGehee served seven years of active duty in the Army and then 22 years in the Army Reserves. He served on the Noxubee County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation’s Policy Development Committee. From serving as the President of the Mississippi Cattleman’s Association to earning the Cattleman of the Year award, his accomplishments as a rancher are long and distinguished

Still, with his wife Martha, the self-professed, life-long cowboy believes his life is a blessing straight from above because of what he wakes up to each morning.

“I think God chose me to be a farmer,” MeGehee says. “Every morning I can see it. Every morning I get to look out the window and see cows. There’s so much to look forward to in cattle. And cattle won’t disappoint you and let you down like people sometimes.”

Since joining Farm Bureau in 1972, MeGehee has seen and done almost everything a cattleman or rancher could think of within the organization, but being named an award winner caught him by surprise.

“When I got the letter, my heart was beating so rapidly I couldn’t think,” MeGehee says. “As a matter of fact, I was in shock for about two days. Normally someone who gets this award is older or in a nursing home. I was just shocked.”