out of the hog business was not something Weatherly was looking to do.
In the mid 1990s the trend for selling hogs was moving to the contract
market, he said. Weatherly was left with the choice of building new
facilities to comply with the contract requirements or quit the
start-to-finish hog operation closed during Thanksgiving week in 1996.
addition to hogs, Weatherly has had beef cattle for most of his life. He
bought his first cow from his grandfather for $100.
repaid my grandfather a dollar at a time," Weatherly recalled.
"I sold loads of slabs from our saw mill for firewood at a dollar a
load. Every time I sold a load, I paid him a dollar."
kept a notebook that contained his payments. He marked off each dollar
until he paid off the debt.
he runs 50 Charlois cross-bred cows. He plans his calving season for
late-fall to winter so he has time to handle the calves.
raises his own hay on 50 acres of coastal Bermuda fields. He supplements
the cows’ feed with Crystalyx barrels from the Co-op.
graduating from Phillips High School in Bear Creek in 1955, Weatherly
enrolled in Alabama Polytechnic Institute in Auburn. He was in the first
graduating class from Auburn University.
name of the school changed from Alabama Polytechnic Institute to Auburn
University on Jan. 1, 1960," said Weatherly. "I graduated in
March of 1960. I was in the College of Agriculture, so we got our
diplomas first. I was tenth in line."
in college, he married the former Carolyn Self of Brilliant.
of Weatherly include Allen Bragg of Toney, Clinton Hardin of Moulton,
and AFC’s Bill Carroll.
college, Weatherly began working with his cousin Fat Lawrence in Selma.
Lawrence is known for patenting the Bush Hog brand mower.
used to work under the cover of night testing out new prototypes for
mowers," remembered Weatherly. "It was very secretive."
also worked on the farm with Lawrence. He stayed in Selma for just over
a year before enlisting in the United States Air Force.
served from 1961 to 1965, when his father was killed in a tractor
accident. Weatherly then came home and resumed his work on the farm.
currently splits his 800 acres equally between corn and soybeans,
rotating each year. He switched to a complete no-till practice several
years ago and wouldn’t have it any other way.
the necessary equipment changes were made, the rest was easy.
his old tillage methods and hauling of grain to the way things are done
today, Weatherly said, "This can make a lazy man out of any
began trading at the Marion County Co-op in Hamilton close to 30 years
had been trading with the Gold Kist FMX in Haleyville, but it went out
of business," said Weatherly. "Steve Hodges was the manager of
the Marion County Co-op at the time and asked me to trade at Hamilton. I’ve
been there ever since."
knows that neighbor and fellow hog-farmer Bug Gregg was at least partly
responsible for getting his business at the Co-op. Gregg has been on the
local board of directors for many years.
depends on the Co-op for all of his farming needs, including seed,
fertilizer, tires, chemicals, animal health products, minerals, and even
his trademark overalls.
jokes that it’s really his wife’s garden seed bill in the spring
that keeps the Co-op in business.
What You’ve Done
is an avid record keeper, a habit that he learned early on. He keeps
accurate records of rain, soil samples, fertilizer and lime
applications, plantings and yields.
good records is the only way to know what is really working for
you," advised Weatherly. "Otherwise, you’re just guessing,
and that gets expensive."
keeping accurate records, Weatherly spends much of his "down
time" doing preventative maintenance.