For more than 39 years, Jimmie and Dot Arthur produced bale after bale of cotton on their land in Leake County, but their farming career did not start out that way.
“I was manager of a chicken hatchery in Hattiesburg,” Jimmie says. “When my dad’s health began to decline, we decided to move back here in 1964. That’s when I started farming this land. We’ve enjoyed life here, that’s for sure.”
The Arthurs have seen some changes in agriculture and farming in their time working their land.
“My dad had mules and sharecroppers on this before I began helping,” Jimmie says. “When we moved back, we started off with just a small tractor. There have been som many changes since then.”
The Arthurs have been Farm Bureau members for 56 years, and it was not long after they moved back to Leake County that they both became leaders in the organization for their communities.
“We had a meeting in those early years and organized the Leake County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee,” Dot says. “The women wanted me to be president at first. At the time, I had two small children and two old folks to care for, as well as checking on the farm so I declined and became the vice-chair.”
While Dot helped grown the Leake County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee, Jimmie served as the Leake County Farm Bureau president.
“It just grew on me,” he says. “It became clear that this was something we needed in Mississippi, an organization that would care for rural America.”
With this notion in mind, the Arthurs did not stop serving at just the county level. Jimmie served fourteen years on the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation State Board of Directors and Dot ten years as the MFBF State Women’s Leadership Committee Chair.
“We’ve met so many people with Farm Bureau,” Dot says. “By serving on the Women’s Committee, I traveled and met people all over. I kept up with a lot of them. This position let me learn how things are in other parts of the country and the state. We’re not all the same. It’s been wonderful.”
Today, Jimmie and Dot still survey their property, but instead of rows of cotton it’s heads of cattle.
“We’ve been blessed,” Dot says. “It’s a blessing to make your living doing the thing that you both love together.”
“It’s something I will cherish and be thankful for the rest of my life,” Jimmie says. “I appreciate the opportunity I’ve had to represent Farm Bureau.”