Hixon honored for his

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 29, 1999

life on the family farm


Features Editor

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Oct. 29, 1999, 11 PM

Editor’s note: Bill and Betty Hixon will be honored by the Brundidge Historical Society at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the Peanut Butter Barn in Brundidge. The association will present Hixon with the Robert L. Godwin Agricultural Award. The presentation will be made in conjunction with the Peanut Butter Festival. All friends of the Hixons are invited to attend the presentation and stay for breakfast at Grandma’s Smokehouse Buffet.

When Bill Hixon wakes up each morning, he is exactly where he wants to be.

The thought of pulling up roots from his farm in the Buckhorn community between Monticello and Josie has never crossed his mind. And, if there is a prettier place on this planet, Hixon has yet to see it.

"Any time we go anywhere, when we top that hill coming home, I always say that I haven’t seen a thing that looked this pretty the whole time we were gone," Hixon said, with a smile.

Hixon grew up on the land that his granddaddy homesteaded around the turn of the century. He is a third generation farmer and is as much in love with that land as his father and grandfather before him.

"My granddaddy farmed and he also owned a general merchandise store just down the road which was the hub of the community," Hixon said. "He sold anything in that store that you would need and everything you would need – from bonnets to hog feed."

Back then, few people went into town to shop. There was no need to make the long trip on mule and wagon because Hixon’s store could supply the community’s needs, even at Christmas time when the store stocked toys and fruits to supply Santa and his elves.

Hixon’s father Delma also ran a store for a while but that never interested him. Farming was in Hixon’s blood and he couldn’t think of anything else – except football and baseball in season.

He did what most other "country boys" did when he was growing up. He went to school, came home, did his chores and tossed a ball around. Hixon became rather good at "tossing a ball" and rather liked being involved in any game that involved one.

He was good enough at football to be offered a scholarship to Troy State College when he graduated from Pike County High School in 1951. To the best of his knowledge, he was the first football player from PCHS to be offered a scholarship to TSC. He played only one year but he made his mark on the college.

"When we weren’t playing football, we had to work for our scholarships," Hixon said. "One of our jobs was to go to Pea River and dig up water oaks and replant them on campus. We planted those trees everywhere – hundreds of them it seemed like. A few of them are left. I’ll always remember planting those trees."

And, he will also always remember a 70 – 6 lickin’ laid on the Red Wave by Florida State.

"And we went down there to get it," Hixon said, laughing.

Hixon’s "Uncle Sam" called him and he spent 18 months with him, part of that time in Germany. After he returned from military service, Hixon got married to his high school sweetheart, farmed, went back to college and played baseball for TSC for the next three years.

"I was planning to be a coach but deep down I knew I really wouldn’t ever do that," Hixon said. "All I’ve ever want to do was farm and there was no reason for me to think about anything else."

Hixon put the plow in the same land that his grandfather and father had tilled and he turned out a living for himself, his wife Betty and three children. The farm grew from the 300 acre farm his granddaddy had bought to its present 1,000 acres.

Hixon grew cotton, peanuts, corn, hay, hogs and cattle. He enjoyed all aspects of farming but his real live was livestock.

"My daddy was one of the first farmers in this area to raise beef cattle and I became fascinated with livestock," he said. "Genetic crossing and seeing what you can produce from different bloodlines just fascinates me. I read and study and try things and I just enjoy every aspect of it."

Hixon has about 350 brood cows and he doesn’t mind getting out in the the cold or the rain to tend to them. He doesn’t mind missing an outing or two during calving season to help bring a calf into the world.

"During calving season, I’m like a little boy on Easter. I can’t want to get up in the morning to go out and see what I can find," he said, laughing.

Hixon has turned over most of the row crop farming to his son Billy but is still a partner with him in peanuts.

"Billy likes row crops but I’m a cattle man," Hixon said. "Farming is my life. Farming is all I’ve ever wanted to do and I’m fortunate I have been able to farm for a living."

A farmer must have a wife who understands farm life.

"Betty understands," he said. "She understands when I go out during calving and don’t come back until near daybreak. She understands me and I appreciate her support all these years."

Hixon is actively involved in the Pike County Cattlemen’s Association and is working hard to see the proposed Cattleman Park become a reality. He is a member of the Farmers Federation, a past regional vice president of the Alabama Association, president of the Wiregrass Marketing Association and a member of Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church.

The Hixons have three children and seven grandchildren and he hopes some of them will make the fifth generation of Hixon farmers at Buckhorn.