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Family Farm Oral History Project

Interview with Douglas and Beth Tillery

August 3, 1983

Conducted by Ginny Scott

© 1983 Kentucky Oral History Commission

Kentucky Historical Society

Kentucky Oral History Commission

100 W. Broadway ( Frankfort, KY 40601

502-564-1792 ( (fax) 502-564-0475 (

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The following is an unrehearsed taped interview with Douglas and Beth Tillery, dairy farmers in Jackson County, Kentucky. The interview was conducted by Ginny Scott, for the Oral History Commission. The interview was conducted at the Tillery’s farm in Jackson County on August 3, 1983, at 1:00 AM.

An Interview with Douglas and Beth Tillery

Scott: Okay, we’ll begin, Mr. Tillery, you tell me your name, age, when and where you were born, your parents’ names, anything in your background you’d like to add.

Tillery: Doug: Well, my name’s Doug Tillery. I am twenty-six. I was born at Pattie A. Clay, and I’ve been raised here on the farm all my life. I went to Eastern, earned a degree in Dairy Herd Management, and I decided to come back and start milking cows and farming for life.

Scott: Who were your parents?

Tillery: Doug: My dad’s Coleman Tillery and mom’s name is Canoie Tillery.

Scott: Are they from Jackson County?

Tillery: Doug: Yes, they are originally from Jackson County. They were born and raised in Jackson County. He had farmed all his life.

Scott: Who were your grandparents?

Tillery: Doug: W.D. Tillery, and can’t think of my mamaw’s name; I swear I can’t.

Scott: Lot of us have that problem [laughing].

Tillery: Doug: It’s been so long…she’s dead now, and I….

Scott: Were they from Jackson County too?

Tillery: Doug: Yeah.

Scott: So the family’s been here.

Tillery: Doug: Yes, the whole family farmed in Jackson County.

Scott: Been here a few years, then.

Tillery: Doug: Quite a while.

Scott: Well did you grow up on this farm?

Tillery: Doug: Yes. We moved out—my dad and mom moved out here when I was six months old, and I’ve lived here ever since.

Scott: Did they own a farm before that?

Tillery: Doug: They bought this one, and he cleared it up. I guess he had it seven or eight years before, and they lived on a smaller farm, on out the road about a mile a two.

Scott: So they’d always been farmers.

Tillery: Doug: Yes, more or less.

Scott: Was your dad a dairy farmer?

Tillery: Doug: Yes.

Scott: Was he?

Tillery: Doug: In fact, we bought the dairy from him—the farm we’ve got now.

Scott: Is your father still living?

Tillery: Doug: Yes, he and mom both are. They live up on Todd’s Hill.

Scott: Still on a farm?

Tillery: Doug: Yes.

Scott: You never leave do you?

Tillery: Doug: [Laughs] I don’t know; I’d like to. If I had a choice to leave to another farm, I would.

Scott: In Jackson County?

Tillery: Doug: No, out of Jackson County.

Scott: Why?

Tillery: Doug: [Laughs] It’s just like well like we’re here; we just have to rent ground all over the county, and that’s just a big hassle.

Scott: How big is your farm here now?

Tillery: Doug: One hundred and sixty-four acres, but only twenty acres of that is reasonable tillable.

Scott: Is the rest of it in timber, or is it hills?

Tillery: Doug: Eighty acres of it’s in timber, and the rest of it’s pasture ground, it’s steep.

Scott: Nothing you can raise a crop on?

Tillery: Doug: No.

Scott: Do you have any big timber?

Tillery: Doug: Not really big, you could say, thirty to forty year old. We had a forest service guy come in and survey and he said it all needed to be cut, so….

Scott: So you could cut it now, and get some money out of it.

Tillery: Doug: Well, I don’t know about getting the money, but you can cut it now. Timber’s selling pretty cheap they say, I don’t know. We’ve been trying to get somebody to come and give us an estimate, but we never got around to it.

Scott: Eighty acres—that’s a lot of timber. You could sell a lot of it for firewood, couldn’t you?

Tillery: Doug: Yeah [laughing].

Scott: Seems like that’s all I see is trucks coming by with firewood anymore. When did you buy this farm, Mr. Tillery?

Tillery: Doug: In 1978.

Scott: 1978…with all the equipment, everything here?

Tillery: Doug: The biggest majority of it was. We’ve picked up a tractor and a few odds and ends since we’ve been here—manure spreader, stuff like that.

Scott: How much equipment do you own? Could you list it?

Tillery: Doug: All the parts? [laughs].

Scott: Well, the big machinery.

Tillery: Doug: We’ve got a, let’s see…three tractors, a manure spreader, silage chopper, two silage wagons, hay bine, hay baler, rake, corn planter, sprayer, grinder/mixer. Beth: Plows.

Scott: You have a silo?

Tillery: Doug: No, we’ve got a trench, bunker type.

Scott: What’s that?

Tillery: Doug: It’s [laughs] twenty-eight foot wide, and one hundred and ten foot long. Beth: It’s cement. Doug: It’s got walls built up on the sides.

Scott: Same thing as a silo, except it’s….down.

Tillery: Doug: On the ground, yeah.

Scott: Okay, I’ve never heard of one of those.

Tillery: Beth: It’s easier if you have one up; it’s a lot of work but the kind we have you have to pack all the stuff down.

Scott: Down in it.

Tillery: Doug: It takes three good people to get it in—one to chop, one to bring in, and another one to pack and level down. Beth: See when we had land, we had to rent land all over this county, and we had to haul silage. Doug: Ten miles away from home ( ); ten miles away up in the money. Beth: It cost us a fortune just to haul it.

Scott: Makes that feed then run sky high, doesn’t it?

Tillery: Beth: That’s why we can’t farm here.

Scott: Well, how much land do you lease, or rent, or whatever, to grow crops?

Tillery: Doug: Well this year, we’re not raising corn, because of that. But we lease…about 150 acres of hay ground.

Scott: Here in the county?

Tillery: Doug: Yes. It’s, well, one of them’s about ten miles away, and the other one’s fifteen miles away. It’s 110 acres on one, and 40 on the other place.

Scott: But take that 110 acres. How much does it cost you?

Tillery: Doug: About $2500 a year. Beth: Just to lease it, no counting the gas, haul bills.

Scott: Yeah, that’s what I mean—to get the hay back here, how much does it cost you?

Tillery: Doug: We’ve never set down and figured out, like this year…we won’t know until we get though. Beth: It’s much higher than anybody else has. Doug: It runs into quite a bit.

Scott: Does it pay off?

Tillery: Doug: It’s getting us by, I’ll say that. It’s not paying…really if you sit down and thought about it, it’s not really paying us at all. It’s all we can do with, with what we’ve got. Beth: That’s right—we have to do it whether it pays off or not, we have to, if we want to continue to farm.

Scott: You don’t have a choice.

Tillery: Doug: That’s correct. See like last year, now, last year, we raised silage, corn silage, and we rent 60 some acres, and for a ton, it was costing us like $38 a ton for silage, and you can buy silage for $20, so we were off base there.

Scott: Just, just quit.

Tillery: Doug: Beating our heads against a rock, more or less. Beth: We don’t want to quit, I mean we don’t want to give up. Our hope is that someday we can get off of this—this is, it’s a pretty farm to look at—but you can’t farm it, and we still have to pay the interest on the land whether it’s steep, or whether it’s flat, which is stupid. We need something flat that we can use, plus we have to rent all that other land. We really need a farm that we can farm. Because we’re paying double what

Scott: Double just to live here.

Tillery: Beth: …an average farmer is paying for flat, good tillable land.

Scott: Well, if you had the same amount, flat tillable land?

Tillery: Doug: They say take a farmer who’s farmed on land like this, if he can make it, and you put him on a flat farm, he’ll be a…he’ll get by, let’s just say that.

Scott: Could you have the same amount of cattle and grow your own crops?

Tillery: Doug: Oh sure, and more.

Scott: On the same amount of land, if was flat and tillable.

Tillery: Beth: If we had 180 flat acres owned, we could do so much.

Scott: Well, how many head of cattle do you run?

Tillery: Doug: We’re milking 38 right now, but we’re wanting to try to get up to 45, and we’ve got… 15 dry cows and 15 heifers that’s… Beth: About 82 head of cattle, I guess, counting the babies.

Scott: On the pasture, then?

Tillery: Doug: Yes.

Scott: And those all have to be fed.

Tillery: Doug: Yes.

Scott: Plus the pasture. What kind of cattle do you have?

Tillery: Doug: Holstein.

Scott: All of them Holstein?

Tillery: Doug: Yes.

Scott: Pure?

Tillery: Doug: Yes. Beth: They’re not registered, but they’re—we artificially breed so…

Scott: They’re purebred Holstein. Is that milk…who do you sell to?

Tillery: Doug: Southern Belle.

Scott: Does it pay the…?

Tillery: Doug: Well, according, well it’s hard to say. They’re very little difference, I’d say, in the two companies, DI and Southern Belle; well it’s Flav-O-Rich now.

Scott: Have you ever sold to Flav-O-Rich?

Tillery: Doug: Yes, well, I haven’t but dad did up until ’72 and then we switched to Southern Belle.

Scott: How come?

Tillery: Doug: [Laughs] I’d rather not say. Beth: They hoodooed his dad he thinks; we don’t know the story; we just know dad’s side of the story. Doug: I know pretty much of the story, but….

Scott: Now in ’72, that was just about the time that Chappell’s sold out to Flav-O-Rich, wasn’t it?

Tillery: Doug: Yes, it was. That’s all the same company now.

Scott: Okay, I was working for the company in ’72.

Tillery: Beth: You were working for who? Flav-O-Rich? Were you really?

Scott: Flav-O-Rich. I was working for Chappell’s during the turnover, yeah.

Tillery: Beth: We don’t think too highly of DI.

Scott: So, that’s why I asked; there was a lot of going around at that time.

Tillery: Doug: I think in ’72, wasn’t that when they put everybody on base, or wanted everybody to go on base, something like that. Well, that’s a big reason; we didn’t want to go on and ( ) come up with high bacteria counts and got cut off for about two or three months. Beth: Then they went to the other milk company, they couldn’t find any high bacteria; it was only DI who said they found high bacteria.

Scott: Well, that was kind of going around at that time. And Mr. Chappell wasn’t like, when he had it, I don’t think. He didn’t have all the problems. I think that they picked up with DI when they sold out to Flav-O-Rich.

Tillery: Beth: DI is too big. They can’t…they’re too big.

Scott: Oh, they had companies, they had milk plants all over Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky, when they picked up, when they went over, changed over to him.

Tillery: Doug: Like here in Jackson County, there’s only…four that milk, that sell to Southern Belle, and the rest are DI.

Scott: Is that right?

Tillery: Doug: And there’s forty-some odd dairies in Jackson County. Beth: So that’s the rest that go do DI [laughs], you know.

Scott: Oh my goodness. I didn’t realize there was that big of a difference.

Tillery: Doug: Oh gosh, yeah. Oh, up until, well, in fact up to a year ago, we were the only ones that sold to Southern Belle. Beth: And DI would come every other week, begging us, oh, get over here with us, we’ll take care of you, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Scott: But you stuck with Southern Belle.

Tillery: Doug: Yeah.

Scott: Well, where’s their headquarters now?

Tillery: Doug: Somerset.

Scott: It’s still in Somerset?

Tillery: Doug: Yes.

Scott: They’re a lot smaller, but I’m…they’re hanging in there.

Tillery: Beth: Yeah, they are hanging in there; they sure are.

Scott: Well, your primary source of income, without a doubt, is the cattle. Do you raise tobacco at all?

Tillery: Doug: Not up until this year. We are this year. Beth: We had to.

Scott: To get that cash crop?

Tillery: Doug: Yeah.

Scott: What’s the base, what’s your base?

Tillery: Doug: Oh, well, our base here on the farm is 1900 pound, but we’ve got leased 8000 pounds.

Scott: That’s going to be a big cash crop, then, isn’t it?

Tillery: Doug: Well, hopefully, but… Beth: It all goes to interest. It was either that or give up now. Doug: And we don’t want to give up. Beth: We hate, I hate tobacco.

Scott: Who works the tobacco?

Tillery: Doug: We do.

Scott: Do you hire outside help?

Tillery: Doug: Only when we have to.

Scott: Will you have to cutting it?

Tillery: Doug: Oh, I guess we will. We’ve about decided it would be, it would pay us to go ahead and get somebody that, [Beth: Good, good cutters.] you know, can go ahead and get it done, than rather let me cut it all myself.

Scott: Well, they have crews that come in; they have those traveling crews.

Tillery: Doug: You’ve got to watch those fellers. They don’t care how you treat your stuff. You end up with half of your tobacco off the stick, and… Beth: You know they split it out, and they don’t put it back on, and go and put it in the barn, and it falls off.

Scott: But if you could get a good crew for….five hundred dollars.

Tillery: Beth: Yeah, usually we try to do everything ourselves. Doug: Well, hopefully this year, I’m going to try to lay out a tobacco-cutting contest and I’m going to try to let them do my tobacco, so I can get the biggest majority of it cut for nothing [laughter].

Scott: I think that would be okay!

Tillery: Doug: I saw the county agent the other day, and he said he’d come and check on it, because my tobacco, well, it’s pretty good-sized tobacco. It’s been good. Beth: You’d better knock on wood, buddy! Doug: He said he’d check and see all what had to be done, and if they got twenty cutters, well, at 50 sticks a person….

Scott: That’s a lot of tobacco.

Tillery: Doug: Well, a lot of tobacco that I don’t have to pay to have cut.

Scott: That’s right, or a lot you don’t have to cut. Will you do the housing yourself, or….

Tillery: Doug: Well, I’ll have to hire somebody to help there too.

Scott: How much does farm labors charge?

Tillery: Beth: In tobacco, it’s awful. Doug: It’s five to six dollars an hour, if you’re lucky to get anybody for that now. Beth: Around here, you can’t get anybody to work. Doug: For hay, you have to pay three to four dollars, it just depends.

Scott: Do you have to hire people in hay too?

Tillery: Doug: Yeah, because we put it up in square bales instead of round bales.

Scott: So you have to hire them to house it, haul it and house it.

Tillery: Doug: That runs into quite a bit of money.

Scott: Why don’t you use the round bales?

Tillery: Doug: [Laughs]. Can’t afford to buy round baler. Beth: We’d like too. Doug: Those suckers are eight and nine thousand dollars, and we just can’t go in debt right now, and do that, more than we already are.

Scott: But they are, in the long run, after you get the baler, they are cheaper?

Tillery: Doug: Oh sure. Like I could put hay up myself if I had a round baler, no problem.

Scott: Just stack it out in the field.

Tillery: Doug: Yes.

Scott: Well, do people have trouble with it rotting here, or have they pretty well got that straightened out?

Tillery: Doug: Yeah…I’d say it depends on the baler and the operator. Some people have good luck and some don’t. Beth: If you roll them real tight….

Scott: If you have a conditioner, does it….?

Tillery: Doug: Well, that’s the only way to cut hay, with a hay bine.

Scott: When they first started, they didn’t have that, did they?

Tillery: Doug: No.

Scott: The conditioner. And, I know a lot of it rotted at the very beginning. Well, back to the tobacco, are you going to bale it?

Tillery: Doug: Yes.

Scott: You are going to bale it. How many grades?

Tillery: Doug: Three.

Scott: Three grades. Is that…did we used to use five?

Tillery: Doug: We’ve not, I’ve never known it for here. I’d say they probably have, but we’ve never…three’s all we’ve ever used.

Scott: Well, does baling it cut down on your profit?

Tillery: Doug: Oh, no, it makes more on profit—saves a lot in labor. Beth: See that’s what eats farmers like us up is the labor. Doug: If you can’t do it yourself, you’d better not get into it.

Scott: What about sharing out with other farmers? Do you do that any?

Tillery: Doug: No.

Scott: Just not worth it? Sharing out the work?

Tillery: Beth: Don’t have the time. We can’t even get our own work done. We’d love to do that. But you know, we don’t have time to do our own work, much less….

Scott: Well, how many cows did you say you were milking?

Tillery: Doug: Thirty-eight right now.

Scott: And who does that?

Tillery: Doug: Well, I do it in the morning, and Beth does in the evening. Beth: He gets up at 4:00 every morning, and ( ) work like a bee.

Scott: How long’s it take?

Tillery: Beth: Takes me three hours. It takes him two hours. Doug: Two and half, sometimes. That works out pretty good, because that way I don’t have to quit cutting hay to come in, you know. She ( ). It makes a lot of difference when you’ve got somebody to help you, and you don’t have to hire all that.

Scott: Dairy farmers are kinda tied down then, aren’t you?

Tillery: Doug: Oh, shhh…we can’t vacation. Beth: We can’t even, we can’t even—and that’s what so bad about Jackson County—if you want any kind of entertainment, you have to go out of the county to get it, and by the time we get done milking and working, it’s seven or eight o’clock. Then when we take clean-up time, you know, clean up to go somewhere, by that time, you’re exhausted. It’s nine o’clock. Then by the time you get to Richmond, everything’s closed. So we have absolutely no social life at all—none!

Scott: Well, what is there to do in Jackson County?

Tillery: Beth: There is nothing to do in this county. Nothing.

Scott: You have to go out of the county.

Tillery: Beth: Yes.

Scott: Do you do your shopping here?

Tillery: Beth: No. There’s, if you want, they never heard of lemons or fresh fruit. I can’t even go get an apple. It’s the truth. [laughing].

Scott: There are no shopping centers here.

Tillery: Beth: Well, gollee, there’s, I’m telling you, there’s absolutely nothing in Jackson County, and these people—I’ve been here five years, and I hate it—but they say that there’s…you know, the big people with all the money, the people that run this county, they won’t let anything come into this county. I don’t know why. I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s what I’ve heard. But there’s absolutely nothing here, that’s for sure.

Scott: The town hasn’t grown a lot.

Tillery: Beth: No way, progression, there’s no progress here. It’s 1930 in Jackson County. Doug: The only progress is ( ) Village, the welfare houses. Beth: Yeah, that’s progress. Doug: Well, I don’t call that progress.

Scott: Well, what do the other people do here for entertainment?

Tillery: Doug: [Laughs]. Sit around and have babies. That’s about it.

Scott: That’s about it.

Tillery: Beth: The rich people, you know people that do work, and have money, they all go out of the county for entertainment. People like us, we have to work so late, we just can’t. There’s no time, because by the time you get ready to go, it’s ten o’clock.

Scott: It’s too late to make it.

Tillery: Doug: We never get to go nowhere together. Beth: We never do. Well, my family lives in northern Kentucky, and I go home, he has to stay here. Or when he goes, I have to stay here.

Scott: Somebody has to stay here and do the milking.

Tillery: Beth: One of us, yes.

Scott: Why dairy farming then? Why did you settle on dairy farming as opposed to beef?

Tillery: Beth: Because dairy farming, every two weeks, whether your milk doesn’t bring much or not, you get a check, and you can pay your bills. Whereas beef cattle, you can take six months to a year to get your beef cattle ready to sell, and you know, it’s not a constant. It’s more like a….

Scott: And you’re dependent on the market again, aren’t you, for that little bit of check. Have you ever tried hogs?

Tillery: [Both laughing].

Scott: Sorry…do you want to tell me about that?

Tillery: Doug: We first started five years ago when we bought the farm, we had hogs. We had thirty brood sows. Beth: Plus the dairy. Doug: Plus the dairy too. That’s a lot of work, I’ll tell you.

Scott: What happened to the….

Tillery: Beth: The first year was great! Hogs were okay, you know, you could make a profit. We thought, oh, this is easy. And we had just started, and we thought, man, no wonder people farm, this is fun. We had money. We, could, you know we could pay the bills, and we could keep up with stuff, and then the market, the hogs dropped. I mean they, it fell out of the bottom. We couldn’t even feed the hogs; you know pay the feed bill. It was…I couldn’t believe it. And then I realized I can’t believe people do this for a living.

Scott: And they do it year, after year, after year.

Tillery: Doug: That’s the only way, if you’re in the hog business, that’s the only way; you can’t go in and out, you’ve got to take the bad years with the good years. But the bad years… Beth: We couldn’t take the bad years. Doug: Of course, we’ve got the cattle too, the Holstein, the milking, and we were taking the profits from the cows to feed the hogs, and we just decided to get rid of them.

Scott: Well, you can’t just hold on to hogs, because the market’s down.

Tillery: Doug: That’s for sure. Beth: We sold our sows and everything, that’s what we decided. Doug: We just decided to go one way or the other; either milk cows or do the hogs. Beth: Though we loved fooling with hogs, it’s hard to get out of hogs. We like to fool with the hogs too; we kept…I had a sow that I kept…got me through me college. She’s had twenty-four pigs at a time. And I kept her, and then we got out of it, and then she had some more pigs and we thought, oh well, hogs got high again, so we kept some gilts and we just done selling them. When we sold them, it’s was down, back to the bottom—we didn’t get… 35-pound pigs, we got about sixteen dollars for them. Doug: We have sold 60-pound pigs for ten or twelve dollars, and there’s no way you can raise a 60-pound pig for ten dollars.

Scott: For ten dollars, no way.

Tillery: Doug: That’s not even possible, but then, there again, the market…you gotta either keep them or sell them. Beth: And you can’t… Doug: You can’t afford to keep them.

Scott: Can’t afford to feed them. And again, you were having to lease land, for that, weren’t you?

Tillery: Doug: Yes, leased corn ground.

Scott: I can see why people can get out of that real easy. Well, who’s making that profit? Somebody’s making it.

Tillery: Beth: The middle man’s making it.

Scott: The packers?

Tillery: Beth: I’d say yeah, between the packers and the grocers, because when hogs drop, even now, you can’t tell in the supermarket. Doug: Pork’s really not gone down. Beth: Pork’s not really dropped that much, it’s dropped a little bit, but not that much.

Scott: Pork hasn’t dropped any in ten years.

Tillery: Beth: Well, who is making that money? The farmer. No, the farmer sells it fifty dollars cheaper than he did sell it for, like, it has to be the middleman and the grocer. The grocer, well, you talk to them, no, we’re not making, we got to pay labor, we got to pay interest rates, blah, blah, blah. So does the farmer, but we have to sell it at…. See, the difference between us and them, we have to sell it, for whatever, no matter what. We have to get rid of it. Grocer can say, you have to pay—this for this pork. People don’t come in and say, we’ll I’ll give you this. That’s our product; that’s the farmer’s problem. We are the victims; we have to take, we have to take whatever, whatever!

Scott: You have to right back to the grocery, and buy it back.

Tillery: Beth: I won’t buy meat at a grocery store.

Scott: But the rest of us, we don’t have a choice.

Tillery: Doug: Yeah, that’s true.

Scott: You know, we go in, and we can pick for the cheapest, and get by. But we can’t haggle over the price.

Tillery: Beth: No, you have to pay what for what they want, and we have to take what they want.

Scott: So someone, somewheres making some money.

Tillery: Beth: And it’s the man in the middle.

Scott: Well, with interest rates the way they are, could you go out at your age now, and buy a farm, stock it, and pay the payments on the farm?

Tillery: Beth: You mean another farm, a good farm?

Scott: Yes, I mean if you were beginning farmers.

Tillery: Doug: Starting with nothing, no way. Beth: If I knew what I know now, I wouldn’t farm.

Scott: But would you get out now, all together?

Tillery: Beth: Would we, right now?

Scott: Yes.

Tillery: Beth: We can’t get out.

Scott: Would you want to, even, altogether?

Tillery: Beth: No, it’s like cancer, and people say, you guys are crazy. You work too durn hard. We have no enjoyment out of life, as far as, you know—we get enjoyment out of this, you have to love it, or you can’t put up with it. You got the weather fighting you, you got interest, you got all this bull. You have to like it—it’s like a disease. The more you get pushed down, the more we say, well, by God, I’ll just hang on a little longer.

Scott: We’ll make it.

Tillery: Beth: But the more in debt you go…every year you think—this is the year, we’ve got it now. These cows are going to milk, it’s gotta happen.

Scott: And then we have a drought.

Tillery: Doug: It’s always something happens; it’s like a gamble really. Beth: Yeah, and then you go back, but it’s like a disease…I don’t know. I can’t think of doing anything else, but I hate, I think farmers work too hard. They should at least be able to make a decent living. I don’t want to live in this trailer for the rest of my life. I’m you know, there are things I want out of life. I don’t want always look like this. I can’t even buy decent clothes. I could, the money’s there, I could use it for that, but I’m not going to, because I’ve got my bills to meet, and I meet my bills. But, I would like to have a nice…that’s my dream; I’d love to have a house. I’m tired of this trailer. I tired of being cramped.

Scott: But if you had that house, if you had a nice house sitting in a subdivision somewhere….

Tillery: Beth: No, I don’t want a subdivision [laughing]… I want a nice house on my farm. You know, why can’t I have a nice house because I farm? You know, who said, a farmer has to live in a little two by four trailer? Because I work hard. I provide food for…

Scott: For how many people?

Tillery: Beth: They say that one farmer, the average farmer, can feed seven other families now. I don’t know. That’s the last I’ve heard. I know that…you know, I feed a lot of people.

Scott: But how much do you get for your milk a gallon? About?

Tillery: Doug: It’s not on this one. Beth: We sell it by the pound. The last was thirteen for a hundred pounds of milk; for a hundred pounds of milk, we get thirteen dollars. Now you figure out, a gallon of milk weighs 8.6 pounds, and the grocer gets, I forget, how much…

Scott: A dollar ninety-nine.

Tillery: Beth: How much does that come out that they ‘re making on our hundred pounds? Thirteen dollars for a hundred pounds. Now, that’s eight gallons. Doug: That’s twelve gallons per hundred pounds. So you get about $1.10 maybe for the milk, $1.10 a gallon.

Scott: For the milk. And if you go back to the store and buy it, you’re paying $1.99; two dollars…

Tillery: Doug: Well, I have no idea. I never, I don’t even notice milk prices.

Scott: I think it’s, it’s right at two dollars. And you’re having to buy the cattle, feed them, have to do all the work, …

Tillery: Beth: And have this land that we can’t even use.

Scott: …do all the interest. Did you inherit this farm, or did you buy it?

Tillery: [Laughing] Doug: I wish I’d inherited it. Beth: If we inherited, we could make it maybe. Doug: If I didn’t owe nothing….

Scott: That’s what I wanted to know. If you had inherited it, if you didn’t owe anything on the land, could you make it?

Tillery: Doug: Yeah, no problem. Anybody could if they didn’t owe nothing, but when you have to pay this high interest and everything like that, there’s no way.

Scott: Well, look at it this way, if you inherited just the land, you come in and stock it with the cattle, the hogs, whatever you’re going to raise, and buy the machinery, are you going to clear enough to pay that off?

Tillery: Beth: We could. Doug: It would be close for the first few years, but it would work out.

Scott: Could you have what you wanted then?

Tillery: Beth: Maybe after ten or twenty years. Doug: It takes a lot of time to build up, especially in dairy. They just don’t reproduce, once a year and that’s it. Beth: Your initial investment…you have to buy so much, you have to go so big to get in it, like we just had to get a new milk tank, $3000. Doug: It’s always something tearing up. Beth: For a guy to go in dairy there’s no way he could go, I mean they won’t even look at you anymore for a loan, if you say you want a dairy farm…ha, ha, ha…get out of here buddy.

Scott: So when you bought this, the dairy farm was already here, the equipment, everything was here.

Tillery: Doug: Yeah, we just bought the majority of the equipment. Beth: We just came in, and then cattle, farm….

Scott: Equipment was on it.

Tillery: Beth: Equipment, milk cows, it was all set up to go.

Scott: But there’s no way you could have done it, if it hadn’t been here—if you’d have just bought the land.

Tillery: Beth: No way.

Scott: Well, can you do that with any type farming? With beef cattle, hogs?

Tillery: Beth: Do what?

Scott: Just come in, buy the land, begin farming.

Tillery: Beth: I don’t know if you can now a days. Beef cattle, you just have to have good fence, and… Doug: You don’t have to have near the investment with beef cattle as you do with dairy, because there you’ve got, you don’t have to buy the milk tank, milkers, or milk cows. Beth: If you have a barn, you have to…you just can’t have a barn, you’ve got a place where you can keep these cows clean. Something cement, you would hope, free stalls where they can sleep and not get in this manure because mastitis, that’s the biggest, that’s the number one enemy of the dairy farmer, and if you have them laying in that manure, you’re going to pay for it. So if you want have a good place to keep them, then you’ve got to have manure handling. What are you going to do with that manure you get out of the barn? You gotta get rid of it; you can’t just pile it up, so that goes into a lot of money, what to do with the manure. And if you leave your cows in it, you’re just asking for trouble. So you’ve got to think about all that.

Scott: Well, how big is your barn?

Tillery: Beth: It’s a big barn. Doug: It’s sixty foot long, and about a hundred ten or fifteen feet wide.

Scott: How much would it cost to build that barn now?

Tillery: Doug: With all the concrete and everything that we’ve got poured in it, I’d say you’d be lucky if it was fifty or sixty thousand, I’d say that’s cheap.

Scott: For one barn?

Tillery: Beth: A barn like we’ve got—I mean, it’s a big barn. And it’s almost all cement.

Scott: Well, how many, how many cattle will that take care of?

Tillery: Doug: We’re about the limit right now, and the one place where we feed the cows and they’ve got a place to lay down, it’s on free stalls, we only got half enough free stalls for what we’ve got. We, I store hay in the rest of it, more or less.

Scott: So you could even use a bigger….

Tillery: Beth: Oh yeah. Doug: We could have a bigger barn, if we could afford to put one up. Beth: We need a bigger barn; we’ve got too many cows.

Scott: Well, what about the other dairy equipment? How much money do you have tied up there, approximately?

Tillery: Doug: Since we’ve been here, I’d say $10,000 is what we’ve redone, because we’ve got pipeline milkers. We used to have a pail-type—you had to pour it in a bucket and then carry it to the tank room. Beth: We had to carry them….all the way out….

Scott: So now where does it go?

Tillery: Beth: It’s all pipelined. We never touch it. Doug: It’s all pipelined right into the tank, now. We don’t carry it now.

Scott: So you don’t touch it really?

Tillery: Beth: No, it’s never touched by human hands, until, well, not even at the milk company, when they process it.

Scott: It just goes straight….

Tillery: Beth: It goes, it stays in pipelines….

Scott: From the cow to the…processing plant.

Tillery: Beth: Right to the bottles; right to the jars and bottles and cartons. It’s never touched. Doug: He comes and puts it in the truck, he’s never touched it—the milkman never touches it. Beth: And they ship, take it from there and put it into big holding tanks and that’s never touched.

Scott: [Tape interruption]. Talking about your milkers. Did you ever milk by hand?

Tillery: Doug: No, I haven’t, well, not really, milked a complete cow out by hand, not never.

Scott: Did your dad?

Tillery: Doug: Yeah, he started out milking eighteen or twenty cows by hand.

Scott: How many people did that take?

Tillery: Doug: His team—he and mom.

Scott: Took him a long time to milk them out though, didn’t it?

Tillery: Doug: Yeah, I’d say it did. If you had strong hands, [laughing] that’s one good thing.

Scott: Well, how much is a milker? Say the equipment other than the barn? The tank, the pipes, how much do you have sunk in that?

Tillery: Doug: Close to $10,000 now, isn’t it? The new pipeline milkers that we’ve got and the tank, and they were all used; now this is not new equipment. Beth: Yeah, we buy used equipment. Doug: We had used equipment now; new equipment would have been way more. A new tank like we’ve got now is $8500, just for the tank alone.

Scott: Now will that…will that, how many cows can you take care of with that?

Tillery: Doug: Well, it depends on how much the cows are averaging. If they’re averaging fifty pounds, we can handle fifty to sixty cows.

Scott: So any more cows, and you’re going to have to have another tank.

Tillery: Beth: Well, we need…. Doug: Well, but like we are here, we can’t handle all that many more cows, because we’re limited to what we can raise and feed our cows.

Scott: How many tons of feed do you use a year?

Tillery: Doug: That’s a hard question. Beth: Well, we get three tons every two weeks. How many two weeks in one year? Doug: That’s six tons a month. Well, I can tell it easier like this…our feed bill at Southern States last year was $24,000, just for the feed. Beth: That’s just for the concentrate—the protein that they get in the milk house.

Scott: Now, that’s not counting the hay.

Tillery: Doug: No, that’s not counting the hay or silage. Our silage costs, well, I figured we had a hundred, no, six or seven hundred ton, and you take $25 or $30 to $35 a ton, and then that runs into a lot of money on silage alone.

Scott: Oh, I reckon.

Tillery: Doug: Plus your hay.

Scott: Plus, you have fertilizer seed.

Tillery: Doug: Yeah.

Scott: Fuel—how much is your fuel bill a year?

Tillery: Doug: For the diesel tractors that we use, it’s $1200-$1500 a year.

Scott: What about the trucks?

Tillery: Doug: Just in the silage, just in the time that we were hauling silage home, it run $900 for a truck. Beth: That’s just like one month. Doug: That’s just like a month of hauling. Beth: A month and a half it takes us to put silage in. That was one month, fuel for the truck to haul the silage. Doug: You can see why it’s pretty discouraging to rent ground all over the county.

Scott: Well, that…your fuel bill would be cut down a lot….

Tillery: Doug: Oh sure.

Scott: ….if you owned a lot of land.

Tillery: Beth: Oh yeah.

Scott: But your other bills wouldn’t go down would they?

Tillery: Doug: Yeah, because see we’d be, we wouldn’t have to pay $2500 for hay land, well, that’s really, that’s just for that one lease. And then there’s $300 on another piece, and then you all up all the corn leases, and we’d save a whole lot in just rent. Beth: And fuel that we have to haul tractors all over the country. Doug: I’d say altogether, it would run $8000-$9000 that we’d be cutting out leasing and fuel, stuff like that.

Scott: If you could just, just if you had the land. Have you tried to sell out and buy another one?

Tillery: Doug: No, not really. Beth: We keep talking about it; we’re scared. But we haven’t found anything really, and we keep thinking…well, we keep thinking it’s got to get better, and it will look better. Then we’ll be able to go, look, and then say to another—all of our loans are through FHA, the government, and you know, if it looks better, we keep hoping it’s just going to get better. Doug: We’re in debt now; why go deeper for a better farm, when you can’t get anymore out of your product, you know?

Scott: If the prospects don’t look any better, why leave?

Tillery: Beth: Right.

Scott: That’s what I was trying to get to…why, why stay?

Tillery: Beth: What else is there to do? Doug: This is a start, more or less, we think. Beth: At least, you know, we—I personally… Doug: We’re holding on right now.

Scott: Do you think it’ll get better?

Tillery: Doug: Hope, that’s the only way to keep doing it. Beth: If we didn’t think it would get better, I don’t think we’d do it.

Scott: What do you think’s going to be done to improve it? How’s it going to get better?

Tillery: Beth: It’s going to knock a lot of people out. Doug: Yeah. Beth: The surplus, there’s a big surplus in the milk industry, they say, now.

Scott: Does that hurt the farmer?

Tillery: Beth: Yeah. Doug: Sure it does. Beth: But two or three or four years ago, they came, why does UK do all these big studies? Why does the government always studying genetics? Why do they keep going after the great, the perfect cow, that can produce 100 pounds of milk a day, and why do they provide all these bulls AI, artificial insemination. Why did they go? Why do they keep pushing? Why do they always want a better hay? Because they want more milk from—per cow per farm.

Scott: But why, if they have all these surpluses?

Tillery: Beth: That’s what I want to know. Why, why do they keep pushing? They come to the farms, you all need to use AI, and get out of this. Get into this. Doug: Well, I can see that, because if you got a cow that’s giving 100 pound, you keep one cow compared to two cows. It’s for the own individual basis, but still…. Beth: But they keep pushing. Doug: They’ve got better cows. They keep pushing, you know, that you ought to get bigger and better. Beth: When now, we can’t even…now they’re coming, and punishing for producing milk now. We’re paying the CCC whatever Credit Commodity Corporation is taking out a big chunk of everybody’s milk check to pay for the, I don’t know if it’s to pay for the cheese, or the storage of the cheese, but they….

Scott: Now you’re talking about the cheese that’s being given away now?

Tillery: Doug: The giveaway cheese. Beth: The surplus. The government had to buy, because they support price of milk. The surplus, they couldn’t use it, so the government had to buy it. They made it into cheese and butter and powdered milk, and of course…I don’t know why they don’t export it. But anyway, we’re paying for something, it’s either to pay for the cheese or to store the cheese or to give it out or something, but anyway they’re taking out a big chunk of every milk producer’s check to pay for the surplus.

Scott: The cheese.

Tillery: Beth: Or whatever, the butter, the whatever. Doug: Doesn’t make sense, because we got paid a very small amount to produce it, and now we have to pay to get rid of it [laughs]. It’s kind of stupid, really.

Scott: So they cut you back to produce it, and they cut you again to…

Tillery: Doug: To keep running, yeah, to give it away and keep, try, they say, they’re hoping it would make farmers slack up on producing so much milk. But 90% of them are going to say, well, if they take that 50 cents out, I’m just going to add another cow to the line to make up for what they’ve taken out. Beth: You have to. Your bills are still the same.

Scott: Your interest doesn’t go down, just because you drop one cow from your herd.

Tillery: Doug: No. Beth: That’s right. Doug: And like I said, in ’72, that’s why we quit DI, because of the base, and if it hasn’t worked from ’72 to ’83, what’s it going to do any good now? They wanting everybody to go on base now. If it didn’t work for them, how’s it going to do any good now, really?

Scott: What’s it going to do? Run so many of the small ones out?

Tillery: Doug: Yeah, I’d say that’s what they’re planning on doing. Beth: They got it all figured out, these….

Scott: Well, has there been a lot of dairy farmers gone out in Jackson County?

Tillery: Doug: Not as I know of. Beth: Not yet. Doug: And the ones that have, they’ve only swapped hands, like they’d sell out and somebody else would start up. Beth: So it’s really not helping.

Scott: So none of them just dropped out?

Tillery: Doug: Nope. Beth: They’ve not lost any milk.

Scott: But that’s what the government hoped?

Tillery: Beth: They think.

Scott: Maybe.

Tillery: Beth: But, that’s so stupid, the government is saying you can’t, we don’t want any more milk, but FHA, you got the government—one guy goes out, they put another guy in. Why do they put another guy in? Why don’t they just sell the farm? Because they’ll lose a little bit of money.

Scott: Yeah, and they’ll keep building up surpluses. But, it looks like to me, since it’s costing the farmer so much to make that cheese, and then to get rid of it, why isn’t someone paying for it?

Tillery: Doug: Well, we are. Beth: We are, you are…

Scott: I mean, other than….

Tillery: Beth: Well, see they come on, haven’t you heard all the big senators that are on there, saying the taxpayer is paying for it. They’re telling now the taxpayer’s paying a million dollars a day to store this cheese. So, we’re all paying for it. But, the thing that I don’t understand…I know they could do something with all this surplus food. Why do we hear about everybody starving?

Scott: Why not….

Tillery: Beth: And today, I just heard that Regan has put out a—he’s got a committee set up because he said that they’re telling him that there’s hunger in America today, right now, and he’s got a new committee and that he’s giving them 90 days to come back with statistics on how many people are starving in America. I don’t believe it.

Scott: If there are that many people starving in America, why aren’t they getting food stamps?

Tillery: Beth: Right, why aren’t they feeding them cheese?

Scott: Right, or feed them cheese and butter.

Tillery: Doug: I think that’s what’s wrong, especially with Jackson County, there’s too dadburn many people on food stamps.

Scott: How many do you think are, in Jackson County?

Tillery: [Laughs]. Doug: I wouldn’t be surprised to say there’s 80%. Beth: I’d say there’s 90….

Scott: Are on food stamps. How many on welfare?

Tillery: Doug: Same amount. I’d say, compare both of them together, it would be running bad close to 80. Everybody that I know about it, is on food stamps and welfare. Another kid, another check, what the hell?

Scott: Well, is there any employment here?

Tillery: Doug: No. Beth: No, they won’t let anything come in this county. Doug: There’s no, there’s no factories really to, I guess there’s clothing factory down there now, but they ain’t got nobody. Beth: There’s a lot of farm…they won’t work for farmers. Doug: Like in hay, when we have to pay out for hay, I tried to get, to pay a guy, the last time I hauled hay, to even drive the truck—that’s all he had to do was drive the truck, and it was too hot [laughing]. Beth: He wouldn’t even drive the truck. And it was his friend who’s on welfare and food stamps.

Scott: Is he an old man?

Tillery: Doug: No, he’s my age. Beth: He’s Doug’s age.

Scott: Unhealthy?

Tillery: Doug: No, he’s as healthy as I am. They’re all healthy—it’s just like… Beth: Why wouldn’t they be healthy? All they do is sit; they don’t do anything to stress their bodies. Doug: They say, why work, and cut out their check, when they can sit on their butt, and draw the check, and make more money, which is reasonably true. Why work, really? Beth: But then they tell us, we’re fools.

Scott: How do they do it?

Tillery: Beth: They must not have any conscience, for one thing.

Scott: I mean, how could you do it? You couldn’t.

Tillery: Beth: I wouldn’t. Doug: I wouldn’t want to.

Scott: But you couldn’t, and I couldn’t. I couldn’t get welfare and food stamps, only if I really needed it.

Tillery: Beth: I wouldn’t want a government to keep me up, and determine how much I need. Doug: I couldn’t, but everybody I know does. You know, like they built the apartments down there, I hate to say it, but it’s just a… Beth: Prostitute house. Doug: Prostitute house, is what it is door to door….

Scott: And it’s a federal…

Tillery: Doug: Yeah. Beth: Federally funded, yes. If they don’t make their bills, they can’t pay the rent, the government picks it up. They just built another great big new… Doug: And then they’re building another one. Beth: …up on this hill, it’s beautiful; you should see it. Girl over here’s got two illegitimate children. Her rent’s going to be four dollars a month.

Scott: Four dollars!

Tillery: Beth: Four dollars. Doug: Why work when you can get like that, you know? Beth: And she still…. Doug: And these kids are going to be brought up thinking the same thing, everything’s going to be give to them, and it’s just a chain.

Scott: Well, we’re in third or fourth generation of welfare and food stamps, already aren’t we?

Tillery: Doug: Sure. I’m all for elderly people, helping them. People like our, a few of my friends that’s able-bodied to help and won’t help. Beth: I can’t even look at his friends. They make me sick. Doug: I know. They ought to be cut out and made to work.

Scott: Do any of them have jobs?

Tillery: Doug: Not as I know of.

Scott: I mean, do any of these people on welfare, do any of them ever try to get out and made a few extra dollars?

Tillery: Doug: Well, they say, I tried to find a job, I just can’t find one. They ain’t looking. You know, it’s pretty discouraging for us, because we’ve got two or three living right here in front of us, and we’re out in the snow, and sleet, and hail and hauling shit and shit all over us, and they sit in a big warm house drinking Budweiser, you know, shaking it ( ). Beth: Well, they tell us all the time, we’re fools. Doug: They can make more sitting there drinking their beer than they can out working.

Scott: But you know, don’t you think someday, that that’s all going to end?

Tillery: Doug: How can it? It’s so big now. Beth: I don’t think it will.

Scott: But it has too. I don’t think we can, we can’t keep affording it.

Tillery: Beth: We can’t afford it, but okay, look at these people that are running the country. They’re all millionaires; they’re all rich guys. They don’t know what it’s like out here. And it takes a few people, now, like on this thing about hunger. They don’t know—they hear a few people cry and they, I know, from where I lived, where I lived and raised, you go up there and they talk about a specific church, as a matter of fact that does a lot of work down here, and you go home, where I’m from, and they come up there to the other churches, and they say, the poor mountain people in Appalachia. Please give; they have nothing. When I came down here, I couldn’t believe it; they have nothing because they don’t want anything. And I went home and told them. I said, “You guys are crazy.” You come down here and I have educated; I brought, boy I’ve told them, I’ve brought them all down here, and I showed them.

Scott: The only poor people I’ve seen in Appalachia are the ones…

Tillery: Beth: Are us.

Scott: …the working class.

Tillery: Beth: I hate being bitter, but I never had to look at it right in the face. I knew there was welfare and food stamps, and I thought it was just…when you don’t know, when you know from the outside, you think it’s a good thing. And it does help some people. But the abuse of it is not right. The abuse is costing us, you….

Scott: Every taxpayer, every working person.

Tillery: Doug: Yeah. Beth: And we, and I can give you four examples right here next to us, of abuse of food stamps. They’ve told us. Like, no I can’t work, because if I make any money, they’ll cut my food stamps. And they go down there and they lie about it. And then they do work sometimes, and they make a lot of money. But they won’t take a check. Of course, I pay by check, because I….

Scott: But all of them want cash, don’t they, so it won’t be reported?

Tillery: Beth: We don’t pay cash; we pay checks. Doug: Everything I pay with check.

Scott: That’s the reason you can’t find anybody to work for you.

Tillery: Doug: [Laughs]. Probably, it’s too hot, really.

Scott: [Laughing] It’s too hot. It’s unbelievable what a mess we’ve gotten into…

Tillery: Beth: It is!

Scott: …and the farmers are the ones that are really picking up the slack, and paying most….

Tillery: Beth: We’re paying double for it. Doug: Sure.

Scott: Your groceries are the same price as their groceries.

Tillery: Beth: No, because their groceries are free—my groceries, I have to get out in the garden, and make my groceries.

Scott: Yeah, but what you have to buy at the grocery, is the same price that they have to pay, but they’re paying with food stamps.

Tillery: Beth: Right.

Scott: It’s not costing them anything.

Tillery: Beth: It’s costing us double. We get kicked two ways—we produce the food, we don’t get anything for it, plus we get taxed, so we’re paying double for them.

Scott: Well, is there anything here that the local elected officials do to help the farmer?

Tillery: Beth: They don’t help anybody but their selves.

Scott: They don’t have the farmer’s benefit at heart, here at all.

Tillery: Beth: I don’t know if they do. Doug: If they have, I’ve not seen any of it. Beth: Let me tell you about this PIK program—have you heard about the PIK program, Payment In Kind. The government came out with this great idea. Doug: Oh yeah, if you don’t raise corn for the poor grain farmers.

Scott: Soil banks.

Tillery: Beth: Which they really got hurt—the grain farmers got destroyed with this grain, surplusing grain, okay. The government won’t export it; they won’t utilize it. They leave it sit. So they said, if you don’t grow your corn, we’ll pay you. We’ll give you money, or corn. So we got in on it. We put these two fields in it. So, you have to sign a paper saying, you know, what you have to do all what they say. Doug: You have to sow a cover crop. Beth: You have to sow a cover crop, to keep the soil so it doesn’t erode. So we did. We put alfalfa. We went to alfalfa, which is the best legume there is for dairy cattle. It’s like the Cadillac of feeds of hay. And it did excellent—I mean it did excellent—the first cutting, it was just unreal. We got punished because we had, they said, you can’t cut it the first year. The first six months in September you can graze it, and that’s all you can do. And if the weeds take it, well this one out here, cockleburs took over and they were taking the alfalfa. I mean they were just ( ), the alfalfa was dying. We had to cut it. So we had to go down to the ASCS office and tell them we had to cancel. For us to cancel, we had to pay them $309. Doug: And we hadn’t received nothing, you know. Beth: I said, “For what? We didn’t even get the corn. I said what am I paying $309 for? For the paperwork to do all this. Paperwork? Doug: All we had to do was sign one paper.

Scott: For the paperwork? That’s unbelievable.

Tillery: Beth: I didn’t, we didn’t even get any corn; see, because we’re not going to get any corn or anything from this program, because we had to cancel. Because if we didn’t cut that alfalfa, we would have lost it. It’s got to last for five years. You seed it for five years. Doug: Twelve acres cost us $1500 to reseed, fertilize, and stuff like that. Beth: Plus $300…I couldn’t believe it! What is the government trying to do to us? Doug: I could see if we’d gotten the corn, paying the corn back. But we hadn’t touched nothing; we ain’t done nothing, we didn’t hear nothing from them, just went down there and signed it, and they said just for signing the contract, you have to get out of it, $309. Beth: And if they caught you cutting it, and then cancelled, they would penalize you, plus the $309. So I told Doug, there’s no way, I’m not messing with the government—let’s go cancel. We have to get those cockleburs out of there.

Scott: Well, do they have enough surplus to pay all these farmers, plus with this drought?

Tillery: Beth: I don’t know what they’ve got.

Scott: Corn farmers all over the United States are going to lose corn this year with the drought. Are they going to have enough surplus to feed it back up?

Tillery: Doug: No.

Scott: If not, what’s it going to do to the farmer? What’s it going to do to the feed for the cattle and hogs?

Tillery: Beth: It’s going to make it go sky-high—exactly what they want. Doug: It’s going to make it higher. Be right back where we’re at. Instead of $24,000, it’s going to be $34,000 or $50,000 just to feed our cows. Beth: And see what they’ve done too, they think they’re helping the grain farmer, but they’re not helping the cattle farmer. Everybody’s going to have this corn in the fall. What are they going to do with this corn? They’re going to have to feed it to something. So they’re going to all buy cattle, or hogs, and they’re going to feed it and they’re going to flood the market, and then the cattle farmer’s going to lose his butt again. And the hog farmer, which he’s doing now—hogs are back down to nothing.

Scott: A vicious cycle, and it’s not going to change, is it?

Tillery: Beth: Not unless the government gets, and starts exporting and trading all this surplus food we’ve got with these other countries that are supposedly starving to death. Doug: I don’t understand why they can’t trade for a Japanese car, or whatever [laughing]. They’re still buying the things, why don’t they just swap, more or less trade for stuff. Beth: Or trade, or do something. I don’t see why…you know, it’s all politics.

Scott: What about all the stuff we’re importing, the tobacco especially? We import cattle too. We import beef.

Tillery: Doug: The tobacco—I listened to a radio, and it’s getting, it’s getting where the United States is going to have to be bad picky on how they raise their tobacco. They’re getting into competition now.

Scott: Is that labor? Are we importing it, because it’s cheap?

Tillery: Doug: Well, yeah, that’s a big part of it too, but then, the other countries now are, they’re getting better educated and they’re putting out just as good quality tobacco as the United States is, if not better.

Scott: What percentage do we import, do you know?

Tillery: Doug: I have no idea. Beth: You know it’s terrible, but…we don’t keep up. We can’t really keep up. Doug: The only thing we get is in the news, really. Beth: Like what’s going on with milk. We should be the first one involved and told about stuff like this. We can go ask the milk company, what’s going on? You know, where do we find out? Well, we don’t really know what’s going on. We’ll just have to let you all know. So where do you go find out? I know one farmer, some farmers do keep up, that George Purcell, he’s good. He keeps up with a lot of stuff, because he’s got time. He’s got a big farm and he’s got a lot of help that he can go to these meetings. We can’t.

Scott: To find out what’s going on.

Tillery: Beth: Which it’s hurting us, because we don’t, we can’t keep up. So we don’t know; we really should try to keep up with….

Scott: Well, isn’t that the complaint of most of the small farmers, though?

Tillery: Beth: Yes.

Scott: You know, you just do not have the time.

Tillery: Beth: He has to, everything he’s got, he has to keep his head above water. There’s no time for frivolous stuff, which that really shouldn’t be frivolous, to be able to go to a meeting to hear about your future.

Scott: Well, to even be able for recreation, or, take off the mental strain, shouldn’t be frivolous.

Tillery: Beth: No, it shouldn’t.

Scott: But farmers don’t have that time, do they?

Tillery: Beth: Not any that we know. The guys that have these big fine farms that they have for a tax shelter, yeah, they’ve got time. They don’t ever get dirty. They’re the ones that—that’s another thing the government—I don’t know why, why can…. See they take up our surplus too. These guys that really don’t farm for a living, that are in it for tax breaks and stuff. So they’re taking a lot of our surplus out. I think the government should tell them, you know, if people aren’t farming for a living, they shouldn’t farm.

Scott: Or they shouldn’t reap all the benefits.

Tillery: Beth: That’s right.

Scott: Because they’re the ones that reap it.

Tillery: Beth: There should be some kind of control on that. We should be able to make a decent living, and they shouldn’t be able to sucker everything. They take our surplus, the beef cattle, that big farm in Richmond, that guy has that big farm. Beautiful—makes farming look like, oh, like on Dallas, makes it look like fun and games. He’s just in it to get rid of some of that extra money, so the government can’t come and take it away.

Scott: It’s a tax shelter.

Tillery: Beth: But he’s also producing beef and food, just taking away this poor guy down the street, who needs that beef cattle to be sold at sixty cents so he can pay his bill, or so his family, so his little kid can have a bicycle or so he can have a nice house.

Scott: So it’s…and people like that aren’t going to be hurt, either, are they?

Tillery: Doug: No.

Scott: No matter how low it goes, they have another job.

Tillery: Beth: Why that’s…I guess the lower it goes for him, the better it is, because the more money he loses in farming, the more money he gets to keep because of his other business. Doug: Right.

Scott: And if farming goes down the drain for him, so what?

Tillery: Beth: That’s right.

Scott: But if goes down the drain for you people, that’s it. You don’t have that job to fall back on. Well, what about the state officials? Do the elected officials help the farmer any at all—senators, representatives?

Tillery: Beth: That one guy tries to, I guess. What’s his name? Huddleston. He talks about tobacco all the time. Doug: Well, really, Jackson County is a tobacco county. That’s their main crop—it’s tobacco. Beth: I think he’s trying to keep hold of the tobacco.

Scott: So you think he’s doing maybe all he can, or at least he’s trying.

Tillery: Beth: I really don’t know. Because like I said, we don’t keep up with it—we should. You know it’s terrible, I feel terrible.

Scott: Well, what about the federal government? Do they offer any help at all, or is it…if so, what kind of help?

Tillery: Beth: They have a…the program like the ASCS Office. They’ll pay, if you want to reseed your land, you have to do what they say, how they say to do it, and sometimes it’s ridiculous what they say. The seeding rate is ridiculous, but you have to do what they say.

Scott: In order to get in the program.

Tillery: Beth: You’ll get…they’ll pay half. Is there any more programs? Doug: Well, there’s a lot of programs, I’d say, but in Jackson County, just because of the paperwork, they don’t figure it’s worthwhile. Beth: In some counties they, if you use a cover crop after you take your corn or stuff off, they’ll pay for half of that. They don’t in this county, because they don’t want to fool with it. If you lose, used to be, if your corn got flooded, or something, there were programs, but there’s not any more. You have to take your own insurance out on it.

Scott: Well, do you have insurance on any of your crops?

Tillery: Doug: No, not on crops.

Scott: But you do have on the cattle?

Tillery: Doug: Yes, cattle, machinery and farm ( ).

Scott: How much does that run a year?

Tillery: Doug: Umm, nine hundred and some dollars [laughs]. You’re ready to quit now, aren’t you?

Scott: [Laughing] I’m ready to go back and sell my farm is what I’m ready to do!

Tillery: Beth: They’re not insured enough. Doug: And really, they’re not really insured for the value, it’s just probably half. Beth: If, like say, they got burned up or destroyed by lightning, or something, we wouldn’t be able to replace maybe half.

Scott: But it’s just something, just to keep you in. If you had your time to go over, just married, would you go into farming?

Tillery: Doug: I believe I would. It’s enjoyable. I love what I’m doing. It’s kind of discouraging in ways, but in ways, you have good times. If you didn’t like it you wouldn’t be in it, or you don’t need to be in it really. Beth: You’d go crazy, you’d lose your mind, you’d shoot yourself. Doug: I’d say a farmer, I’d say a lot of people couldn’t handle being a farmer, the stress and the pressures on them. People don’t realize, really, how hard it is. Beth: They think it’s…I mean we have major disasters that would put most people out. Doug: One week, we lost twenty-five hundred, three thousand dollars—two cows died, took one to market, she died, and while I was gone, she was chopping silage, and the silage chopper belts come off and ruined the blades and that was $1500-$1800 to replace the blades. Beth: This was one day. Doug: And then the hydraulic cylinder jerked off the wagon, and we had to get one of those, and that was another thing, and I said nothing else can go wrong, and the lift in the tractor busted [laughs]. You know… Beth: I think that was our worst day ever.

Scott: Twenty thousand dollars, in…

Tillery: Doug: Two thousand, well, three thousand dollars, I think it was—something like that. Beth: I mean we lost two good cows, took them to the stockyards. One of them dropped dead—had a heart attack [laughing].

Scott: A heart attack?

Tillery: Doug: It must have been. Beth: She never…they were kind of old, they weren’t crippled or anything. They were nice looking cows. Doug: They were just old family cows that had never been in any excitement. Beth: She’d never been off this farm, and we hated to sell her. That’s another hard thing about farming. You get attached to these old cows, buddy. They work hard as you do, trying to give you this milk, and then you have to end up turning around and killing them, or you don’t kill them, but you know where they’re going. And the stockyards, oh they beat them, and it’s awful. And she…I’m glad, I was kind of glad, because I really…I did not want somebody to shoot her, and half the times they don’t shoot them, they just hang them up and slit their throats. They don’t even kill them. I was, say, I was kind of glad she died, because at least she didn’t have to go through all that. But then the other one, she got down in the truck, and the cows stepped on her, and they did something to her leg, or something, and they couldn’t get her up at the stockyards, so they laid her back in the back. Doug: It was about half of what she was worth. Beth: And some slaughterhouse came and got her.

Scott: I’d be tempted to bring her back home, and….

Tillery: Doug: Well, if you can’t get her back up, it’s hard to lift a 1300 pound cow back up in the truck [laughs]. Well, then, if you brought her back home, what would you have done with her?

Scott: Eat hamburgers.

Tillery: Beth: I can’t eat hamburgers…it’s hard. Doug: It would have paid us if we could sold hamburgers more than what we got out of her. Beth: We should have. But you know we were right in silage, and we couldn’t think…we couldn’t think. Doug: That was a pressure time, I tell you.

Scott: Well, do you grow your own beef to eat?

Tillery: Doug: Yes. Beth: We don’t really, and usually we don’t get to eat the best ones. We just eat the ones that, like one bull drowned right there, in this little bitty water trough. We had to eat him—Doug saw him kicking and he ran down and tried to get him out. By the time he got down there, he was dead. He said, “Bring my tractor down here.” So, he pulled him out, slit his throat, took him to… You know that’s what we get to eat, because we can’t afford to eat.

Scott: The ones that accidentally get ( ) or accidentally gets killed during the year so you’ll…

Tillery: Beth: If a sow breaks her leg, we’ll eat her. But we never get to eat the prime stuff.

Scott: Can’t afford it.

Tillery: Beth: No, you got to sell it. You’ve got to get….

Scott: Well, you grown your own vegetables?

Tillery: Beth: Yes.

Scott: And freeze and can. That cuts down on your grocery bill considerable, with your pork and beef, everything.

Tillery: Doug: But that’s another thing too, well, like these food stamp people, they’ve got plenty of room for gardens if they want to raise it. Because they can get food stamps, why not? Too hot to be out in the sun [laughing]. Beth: And that’s what they talk like. Doug: Like on this cutback, they’ve already taken fifty cents out, getting back to that. Well, they’re taking fifty cents out a hundred on our milk, and feed’s jumped to twenty dollars a ton since that’s happened. Now, how in the heck are you supposed to pay for the feed when you’re getting less for your product and have to pay for your feed back?

Scott: You have to add a couple of cows to the line.

Tillery: Beth: That’s right. Doug: And then there you go back, and they’ll say. Beth: They think, I don’t know what they think, by cutting us. Your bills are still the same, your interest is still the same. They ‘re not going to get this surplus by taking more money from us, because we’ve got to put more cows in the line to get that money back to pay our bills.

Scott: Will it eventually run people like you all out?

Tillery: Beth: Yeah. If it doesn’t change, that’s probably where we’re headed, but we’re going to hang on until the very last. The government has got us, and all of our loans are through FHA. And they say it takes them a while to foreclose. But…

Scott: Was that a help, now, to the farmer?

Tillery: Beth: What?

Scott: The FHA, the lower interest.

Tillery: Beth: The FHA guy here… Doug: He’s really super. Beth: …has been excellent to us, because he knows that we work so hard, and he, he scratches his brain, to why, why can’t we get…why can’t we make it? Because he says, he tells us, I don’t know anybody that works like you two that can manage like you two. There’s got to be a way. And he really does try to help us. In that point, the government does…they try.

Scott: With that lower interest.

Tillery: Beth: It depends, well, no our interest [tape interruption].

Scott: Let’s get some comparison farming. When you were growing up, tell me about farming then. You farmed this farm then.

Tillery: Doug: It seemed much harder.

Scott: Well, you had the tractors, didn’t you?

Tillery: Doug: Yeah, we’ve had basically the same machinery that we’ve got now.

Scott: Why was it harder?

Tillery: Doug: I don’t know, I guess I didn’t like doing it, maybe. Beth: It was harder physically. Doug: Well, it was harder in ways because seems like we worked and worked and you always had to ask, or to me, I always had to ask dad for money to go out on Saturday nights, and that’s something I hate like heck to do—to ask for money, you know. And now, you know you were…I was always told what I could do, and what I couldn’t do, and now, it’s our own decisions on what we can do and what we can’t do.

Scott: Weren’t you taught, you were taught by your father, your responsibility?

Tillery: Doug: Yeah. Beth: He’s got ten brothers and sisters—they’ve got stories that…that really their dad worked them death, and the older ones. He was the last. Doug: We say it was the hard way, but I guess looking now, it was the best way that he could get by, more or less. You had to do with what you had, and that’s what we’re doing now. Our machinery now, you go out there and look at it, and it’s as old as I am, and it….

Scott: But it still….does a job.

Tillery: Doug: You can work on it all day one day, and maybe get two good days of cutting, on a hay bine or something like that. That’s what it’s run me this year. We make do with what we’ve got. And that’s what he done. Of course, he had, like I say, yeah, I’ve got nine brothers and sisters, and they’re all older than I.

Scott: Well, now, he had farm hands then?

Tillery: Beth: That’s right. Doug: Oh yeah. Beth: That’s why he had so many kids. Doug: That helped out a lot, see, he didn’t have to hire no labor. Beth: Ten kids can take a big load off your workload.

Scott: There were two of us, and we had a big farm, and we never hired labor.

Tillery: Beth: We very seldom hire, and there’s just two of us.

Scott: We never hired labor at all when I was young. But there’s nothing harder than growing up on a farm.

Tillery: Doug: But I think, though, kids that grow up on a farm have advantaged over city kids, because they can survive. Beth: That’s right.

Scott: Why?

Tillery: Doug: Because they’ve been brought up to learn how to grow their vegetables to eat, or how to slaughter a beef or a hog or something like that. Beth: And how not to take—how to handle everyday stress. Doug: Yeah. Beth: Because you’re given twenty thousand times the stress on a farm. Kids are just able to take things better. They can adjust. Doug: I think you face reality a lot quicker.

Scott: Well, you think families are closer, farm families are closer?

Tillery: Beth: I think they are. Doug: I think they are, yeah, because… Beth: I think they’re real neat; of course, we don’t have any kids [laughing]. We can’t afford to have any kids.

Scott: But even your family, and my family, are they closer than if we had grown up in the city?

Tillery: Doug: I would say yeah. Beth: I don’t know, I’m from the city. Doug: I’ve not been really that close, around city families—I couldn’t tell you. They may, her family, she’s kind of in the city, and her family is really close.

Scott: Someone had told me last night that he thought farm families, farm children, are not as bored growing up; there’s always something to do.

Tillery: Doug: There’s always something to get into. Beth: I wasn’t really raised right in the city, we were out in the country, and we always were outside playing. We had some horses and stuff like that. I guess kids really, in the city….

Scott: Yeah, I’m talking about inter-city.

Tillery: Beth: …and they get into trouble.

Scott: And farm children just don’t do that. You don’t get in the same trouble that the people that live, kids that live in an apartment building in Lexington get into.

Tillery: Doug: Well, I never would think of stuff like that. I always had something else to do.

Scott: What did you do for recreation when you were young?

Tillery: Doug: Not really much, up until the ninth grade. I played a little basketball in high school, was about it.

Scott: What about during high school, when you were dating? Where did you go?

Tillery: Doug: [Laughing] To the Big Hilltop Drive-In.

Scott: I don’t want to know what you did [laughing]; I want to know where you went.

Tillery: Doug: To the Big Hilltop Drive-In, the big excitement of McKee.

Scott: What did you do, really, for entertainment? What did kids your age do, that were in high school for recreation?

Tillery: Doug: That’s about it, when the drive in was going on. Beth: Drive around. Doug: Just drive around, and everybody meet at the drive in and shoot the bull.

Scott: Did you hunt or fish?

Tillery: Doug: Not really that much. I never did get into hunting or fishing that much. I figured if I had time to do that, I’d rather spend doing something else, really. Of course, that’s just my opinion. There’s a lot, the majority of them, I’d say, they really like hunting. Beth: A lot of people have coon dogs and they sit and listen to their dogs howl. Talk about exciting—whoop.

Scott: Well, what is there for recreation now, in McKee, Jackson County, for young kids.

Tillery: Doug: Just, let’s see, they’ve got, we’ve even got a poolroom now or not. They can play a little pool. Pinball machines, really, is about all they go to, these little…. Beth: I’ll tell you one good thing, the only thing that’s good, is 4H. Those kids get really, of course, those are farm kids, that got their show cattle, and 4H land judging, and all this and that.

Scott: So that provides some….

Tillery: Beth: So summertime, they have the camps. Doug: It’s getting a lot better. It used to be that 4H wasn’t nothing here, but it still, it’s nothing like it is in other surrounding counties.

Scott: Well, what about the children of the people who don’t own farms now?

Tillery: Beth: Well, the rich kids, they got, you know, they don’t, they always have something to do. But these people, the kids that don’t have farms, like say the welfare kids, I don’t know what they do. Doug: Do nothing, just like where they’ve got the pinball machines, and that’s about it.

Scott: Just hang around.

Tillery: Doug: Just looking for something to get into, more or less.

Scott: Well, is that back again to welfare?

Tillery: Doug: Sure.

Scott: No responsibility. We’re not raising our children….

Tillery: Doug: They don’t have to do nothing, they’ve never been raised up to work, or where their money comes from. Beth: They don’t know how to work. Doug: You know, the first of the month, they’ve got their check and they just go spend it.

Scott: Do they all have cars?

Tillery: Doug: Why yeah, that’s all the do is drive around. How they can afford to drive around is beyond me. Beth: Oh, these people have cars and they go more than we could ever think about going [laughs].

Scott: Did you have a car when you were young?

Tillery: No, I didn’t get a car until I was…seventeen. In fact, I’ve still got the same car. She bugs me to sell it, but I won’t sell it. Beth: He won’t sell it…it’s like his heart, or something—his right hand. Doug: Well, it’s the first car I ever had. Beth: “I can’t get rid of that car!” he tells me, so we just look at it sit there. Doug: That was one good thing, well like, dad finally let us, we started raising—a brother that’s a year older than I—let us raise a few hogs, and what we made off it, it, he let us keep it, and that’s what I done with my money, is bought that car. I hate to get rid of it [laughing]. Beth: So it just sits out there.

Scott: So you’re going to keep that car forever?

Tillery: Beth: It runs real good, but…. Doug: Probably. It’s…

Scott: Well, children today, do you think they have a better life than what you had growing up, fifteen, sixteen?

Tillery: Doug: It’s hard to say. Really, I had a pretty good life, I guess, I can’t knock it. But as far as entertainment and excitement, I can’t remember any. It was always stay at home. And then when I did get old enough to drive and start going to the ballgames and stuff, dad’s say, who are you going with, you’d have to know their grandma’s name, and their dad’s name, and all about them, and if he didn’t like them, he’d say you’re running with the wrong company, you can’t go, and stuff like that, you know.

Scott: If you had children, would you be that way?

Tillery: Doug: No, I don’t think I would, because I, well, I’m really different from all my other brothers and sisters, really. I’m the black sheep of the family. I just don’t think like they do. Beth: You should know his family. Doug: Yeah, they’re one in a kind.

Scott: Well, do they all live here?

Tillery: Doug: Let see…all but two. Beth: One’s dead.

Scott: Do they live on farms?

Tillery: Doug: No. I’ve got one brother, he’s in Ashland. He’s an FHA guy.

Scott: So you’re the only one that farms?

Tillery: Doug: Yeah. Beth: And they all tried, on this farm. Doug: They’ve all tried on this very farm. Beth: And we’ve lasted the longest.

Scott: Well, you’re the baby, so you’ve got to keep it [laughing]. Beth: There’s nobody else left.

Tillery: Doug: It’s changed hands, all down, through all the brothers. Well, Ewell hasn’t tried it, but the rest of them have.

Scott: And nobody made a go of it?

Tillery: Doug: No.

Scott: And got tired of it?

Tillery: Beth: They couldn’t take the stress; it was so hard, they couldn’t…. they could have hung on, like we have.

Scott: Do you all think you will?

Tillery: Beth: Think what?

Scott: Will hang on?

Tillery: Beth: Right now, at this moment, we say we are.

Scott: Tomorrow may…

Tillery: Beth: It might, something, I mean, he could break his back. I couldn’t do this by myself. I can’t say what’s going to happen tomorrow. If things stay the same, I think we’ll hang on until they come, I mean, I’ve worked so hard for this land. There is so much blood, sweat and tears in this land, when they do, if they foreclose on me, or something, they’ll have to get a bulldozer to push me—I’m not kidding—they’ll have to shoot me, cut my legs off, I’ll fight every breath of the way, because I’m trying, and I’m still trying, and I am producing and supplying food, and it’s not my fault the country is in this mess, and I’m doing my part, they should slack up on the farmers a little bit. Give them a little extra—give them a chance.

Scott: What do you think the federal government could do? What would you like to see them do to help the farmer?

Tillery: Beth: I would like to see them do…find some way to use the surplus. And it’s all in trade and export and all that stuff. I know….

Scott: Do you think that would take care of the biggest part of the problem?

Tillery: Beth: I think it would. I think they should do something about these rich people who get into farming for fun. I think that takes our surplus. Doug: But how can you say, “Hey, you can’t go into farming, because you’ve got the money.” Beth: How come they can put us all out of business? Doug: It’s a free country, you can do what you want, really. Beth: Why are they allowed to put us out, then, if it’s…it’s not fair to us, the people that farm for a living. We’re all entitled too.

Scott: And you’re the ones that are going to be hurting.

Tillery: Beth: That’s right. We’ll be the first ones to be knocked out, because we’re small, and we can’t take it. Doug: Then you get to knocking all the farmers out, and putting everybody on food stamps and welfare, who’s going to raise the food to feed those people? Beth: Right, when they put us out, where are we going to go?

Scott: Are we going to have to hit rock bottom before people realize, before the government realizes….

Tillery: Beth: They got to educate the public. That’s a big thing too. People don’t realize what agriculture means, what it is, really, they don’t. I’m from the city; I never even thought about it. And I have done, I’ve done my part—because everybody I know, I’ve told them. Anybody says, “Boy, milk is high.” I invite them down for a week or two, and buddy, by the time they leave here, “I’d pay ten dollars for a gallon of milk,” they say. And I’ve educated as many people as I can. And anybody that says, people aren’t aware—the general public are not aware. I think if people understood….

Scott: Well, we’ve got…four generations ago, more people did understand. More, more, more, and more farmers than we have now. We’ve got a generation of city folk.

Tillery: Doug: And really, a lot of city people, I’ve heard a lot of them say, “We’ll we just go to the store and buy it.” But if it’s not in the store, how the hell can you buy it? Where they going to get it?

Scott: That’s right. What do they say well, when…?

Tillery: Beth: It’s the image of the farmer too, that they’ve got. Because they see these guys, and I know, because I’ve seen it, and I’m from it, and I used to think a farmer’s got it made. Now, I know, and I hear people at home, and when you hear that milk’s sky high, you automatically think of the farmer. When I’d see pork sky high, I’d automatically say, boy, that farmers, they’ve got it made. I had no idea—so the image of the farmer.

Scott: So education would be, education and getting rid of that surplus.

Tillery: Beth: I think surplus is the first.

Scott: Would help more than anything.

Tillery: Beth: I think maybe the government is either going to have to get out of, I don’t know, they might have to just let it go, maybe they’ll have to lift…I don’t know…the support price. I don’t understand it so much, about, they say milk was awful low before the government supported it, and you couldn’t make a living then. And then the government came in, and then, at least you could make a living. And now, there’s too much again, and they’re talking about taking, you know, not supporting milk.

Scott: So again, it’s that vicious circle.

Tillery: Beth: So you don’t know. Some people say if they would get out, the government would keep their hands out of it, and let supply and demand take care of itself, then it would. But, it was like that before, and it didn’t help.

Scott: It didn’t work. There has to be something else.

Tillery: Beth: Right, because I know his brother was farming then, and he said milk was oh, so cheap, and people were falling out right and left, and the government came in and supported it, and that did help them.

Scott: Yeah, it keeps it up, because it keeps competition down too.

Tillery: Beth: But I’m sure dairy farming was good at a time, I think, in between then and now. Good, in not that you became a millionaire, but you could make your living.

Scott: You could make a living.

Tillery: Beth: And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Scott: Not at all.

Tillery: Beth: And it looked good, and then a lot of people got in it.

Scott: Flooded the market again. So a lot of people are going to have to get out now, before it looks good again.

Tillery: Beth: I guess so. It’s scary when you think, you think…. Doug: You could be the one that’s getting out. Beth: …you say a lot of people, when you know that lot of people is you.

Scott: Well, the ones that are going to get out are going to be the people like you all that make a living…..

Tillery: Beth: Right.

Scott: …on the farm. You don’t have anything else; you make it here. Those are the ones that are going to sunk.

Tillery: Beth: Well, the big farmer, like George, milks a hundred and something cows, he won’t get out. He won’t have to get out. He’ll be able to hang on. Of course, he got his land a lot cheaper, and stuff. Doug: Yeah, he got basically, probably ten times more for the same amount that we’ve got in debts.

Scott: But those are the people that will hang, that will be able to hang on.

Tillery: Beth: And the guy that’s got, that’s a millionaire… Doug: A tax write-off. Beth: …just bought a six hundred milking cow unit dairy farm that they milk continual, all day long. I mean, you’re talking, some dairy farms, well, why they milk twenty-four hours a day; they milk a thousand cows. Now, they’ll hang on; it won’t touch them.

Scott: But it will run the little, the little farmers out.

Tillery: Beth: Yeah, buddy.

Scott: Well, I think I’ve about kept you all, about two hours. What time is it?

Tillery: Beth: 2:00Doug: Well, you can just stay and help us [laughter]. … ( ) really bashful at it.

Scott: I grew up doing it; it’s okay [laughs]. But I do want to thank you for taking the time. Maybe it will help—maybe somebody along the way will listen, and it will help.

Tillery: Beth: Hope it does, before it’s too late.

Scott: It’s worth a try. Well, thanks again.

Tillery: Doug: Thank you.


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