For seven generations, Jared Floyd’s family has been farming.
And from his hay and cattle fields in north Forsyth County, Floyd is continuing that legacy, even though the number of farms and farmers in the county is slowly shrinking.
The 37-year-old farmer says it’s hard work, sometimes with little payoff in the end, but still he loves it all the same because he’s been doing it all his life and other reasons he can’t explain.
"That's all I've ever done,” Floyd said, standing at the gate of his field off Aaron Sosebee Road on Wednesday afternoon. “I've worked a lot of jobs, but I've always done this on the side."
The Upper Chattahoochee River Soil and Water Conservation District has selected Floyd and his family as the 2019 Conservation Farm Family of the Year for Forsyth County, an annual honor since the 1960s.
"It means a lot," Floyd said when asked about the award. "I'm not as young as I used to be, but I'm younger than most farmers in the area. I just turned 37, so this is a big honor for me."
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Like his father before him, Floyd is a cattle and hay farmer, and for over 20 years he’s done just that, with the help of his wife, Mitzi, and his two young children, Ellie and Austin. Sometimes they raise and sell cattle and bulls. Sometimes they make and sell feed to their neighbors. But they always farm something, Floyd said.
"We grow a big garden down there every year. Some to sell and some to eat," he said, pointing down the road from his home, which sits just a stone’s throw away from their pastures and the homes of his grandmother, aunt, cousin and sister.
Floyd said that one thing he loves about being a farmer is how he’s been able to raise his kids. While some kids are playing video games or surfing the internet, his youngsters are learning about the farm, exploring or playing with one of their pet cows, “Sunshine.”
"The kids are out here doing something all the time," he said with a chuckle. "It gets them out of the house so they aren’t watching TV, lying around the house or something."
Floyd’s wife, Mitzi, is a nurse at Northside Hospital Forsyth who hails from Buford in Gwinnett County. She didn’t grow up on a farm but agreed with Jared, saying that it’s been fun to raise their kids in such a dynamic atmosphere.
Mitzi isn’t from a farm family, so marrying into one and growing accustom to the life has been an interesting experience.
"It's very different," she said. "It's a lot of fun though, there's always something to do."
But things in the Forsyth County farming community aren’t the same as when their family started. Over his 20 years of farming in the area, Jared said that he’s definitely seen things change.
Farms are shrinking he said, pastures are being bought up and developed.
"There’s not near as many," he said. "Hay fields and pastures are getting gone."
That worries him a bit, he said, but not a lot because he can always just cut back what he's doing if he needs to, and until then he has enough to do what he loves and get by.
"He loves it too," Jared said, watching as his young son practices lassoing with a piece of rope and walks in the pasture to check on Sunshine.