Greg Gill is a passionate peanut farmer who’s quick to laugh and to make a friend. He travels with koozies emblazoned in bright orange with his farm’s name, ready to pass out to virtually everyone he meets—from Napa Valley, California to his hometown of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas.
Greg is friendly not only to people, but also to the crops that he grows, including peanuts, soybeans, corn and rice. “The most rewarding thing about farming to me is planting a seed, nurturing it and watching it come up and grow,” said Greg. “It’s a pleasure to see these plants start from nothing to providing food for everyone. Plants are kind of like a people; you take care of them, and if they’re sick, you help them get better. You try to do whatever it takes to make the plant do all it can do.”
Greg started farming with his father and just finished harvesting his 41st crop. “Farming is all I ever wanted to do,” he said. “I love being outside and working outside. I don’t like being cooped up in office.” Greg’s wife Kim and son Nash also help out on the farm.
Farming is never a 9-5 job, and planting and harvest seasons are the busiest times. “I usually get up by 6:00am and my crew and I meet at the shop at 7:00am,” said Greg. “We talk about what’s coming up in the day and what we need to get done. During the busy times or if we know there’s bad weather coming in, we’ll work until it gets dark or even later, sometimes eating lunch as we’re driving the tractor through the field. Outside of planting and harvest, we’ll repair and maintain our equipment, set up irrigation pipes and things like that.”
Planting and growing crops becomes pretty predictable after 41 years, so it’s not usually that aspect that keeps Greg up at night. “The most challenging thing is trying to figure out the markets, which helps me decide what and how much to plant and when to sell my crops so that I can make a living,” said Greg. “I use an app on my smartphone to help monitor the daily markets and I use a market expert called a broker to get advice. There is also a lot of paperwork involved in farming that’s not much fun and takes a good of bit of time. I do most of it myself but I also work with experts like accountants so that I can keep my farm in business.”