Abbott Family: Farming with a View
With the help of his father, Ray Abbott acquired land along the Mulberry River in Bremen, AL, and started his cattle operation almost 50 years ago. Today, his farm is one of the largest stocker grazing operations in the area, and if you ask Ray, he will tell you it is one of the prettiest farms, too. Running along the Mulberry River for nearly a mile and with a view of three counties from his backyard, Abbott’s cattle farm and land is a pretty sight in anyone’s eyes.
Ray and his son, Scottie, manage the stocker operation together and graze their stockers from November to September each season. Each season brings its own challenges and rewards, and Ray depends on his lender to stand by him through thick and thin. “I’ve been to other banks, and First South is the place for me. And if it is a place for me, it should be a place for other people.” said Ray Abbott, a longtime member of First South Farm Credit in their Cullman branch.
Abbott recalls a time when after purchasing a lot of property, the interest rates rose from 6% to 18% over a relatively short period of time and he had to make some tough business decisions regarding some of the property. But he did what was necessary and was able to continue his farming operation. “If it wasn’t for First South, I wouldn’t be here. There is no question about that.” said Abbott. "They’ve been really good …. They’ve stayed with me through some tough times and you can tell it’s worked out well for me.”
“We’re proud to have earned Ray’s trust through the years” said Chauna Lamar, Branch Manager of First South’s Cullman office. “Building relationships with our borrowers is crucial to providing them with the financial services they need. Knowing where Mr. Abbott is in regards to prices and input costs, and understanding his challenges and needs is what sets us apart and makes us a good team each stocker season.”
Like most farm families, Ray Abbott hopes to pass down his farm and this way of life. “I’m going to pass this place down to my son.” said Ray. “He’s got two sons and we are going to try to keep this deal going for some more generations.”
Its farm families like Ray and Scottie Abbott that keep the dream alive for not only their families, but for many others in the surrounding area that are part of the financial cycle of farming operations. And along the way, they are enjoying their time as stewards of one of the prettiest stretches of Land …. along the Mulberry River in North Alabama.