Talk to Robby Bevis for five minutes and you will quickly discover his passion for farming. In fact, he never pictured himself doing anything other than farming. As a fifth-generation corn, rice, and soybean farmer, farming is definitely in Robby’s blood.
“I don’t ever remember thinking I was not going to farm. I’m probably one of the few that was fortunate enough to come to love it like I did at a young age,” Robby said. “When I was in college, I worked for other farmers and had odd jobs, but I always knew I was going to come back to the family farm. It wasn’t a question of IF I was coming back. It was a question of WHEN I was coming back.”
Robby’s ancestors settled on the land in the late 1800s and his family has farmed and lived on that same area ever since. His dad took over management of the farm from Robby’s grandfather in the late 1970s and Robby came back to the farm full time in the spring of 2000 after earning his bachelor’s degree in agricultural business from Arkansas State University.
In 1995, their neighbor retired and asked Robby and his father to take over his farm. That was when Robby and his father realized they were definitely in this for the long haul and decided to form a corporation.
“We sat down and discussed how farming is a good life. You’re not going to get rich, and there’s going to be good years and bad years, but you do it because of the lifestyle and your passion. That’s the moment when we really settled into farming,” Robby said.
People often ask Robby about his farm being incorporated, which is a great question. It’s important to remember that while this is a farm, it’s also a business, and smart business practices include having some sort of corporate structure for tax reasons. It doesn’t make this farm any less of a family farm or any less environmental or consumer friendly. It’s simply smart, practical business.
Other smart business practices Robby employs is the use of modern technology such as GPS, precision agriculture, and biotechnology, and advanced soil health practices.
“New technology allows us to make less passes across the field which saves on fuel and time. We’re just trying to be better stewards of what we have,” Robby said. “One thing we’re really pushing is the soil health movement by going with cover crops and trying to get away from all tillage. This movement is really helping me, but it’s also benefitting my whole community in that it’s improving water quality, air quality, and runoff.”
Not only is Robby cultivating crops, he’s also cultivating the next generation to farm the land. The sixth generation, Robby’s son, will soon be finishing college and is planning to be back on the farm full time following his graduation this fall.
Robby’s passion for agriculture is undeniable. From developing a love for it as child to never questioning if he should come back to being the best possible steward of the environment he can be, Robby is one of several leading a new generation of agriculturists.
“I get to put something in the ground, watch it grow, and see an end result. I love it,” Robby said.