Continuing a Legacy: Enfield Cotton Ginnery
Tatum Eason has a heart for agriculture and is determined to carry on the legacy of those that came before.
From Rocky Mount, NC, Tatum has a diversified operation comprising of beef cattle, hay, cotton, mulch, and dirt. They have over 15 module trucks that they custom haul for over 36 different cotton gins each year from Virginia to South Carolina, to as far as Mississippi.
Working with so many growers, she became involved in the cotton industry on a whole new level. She now operates her own gin—Enfield.
“Enfield holds a very special place in my heart. The gin itself was owned by 16 people, and I wanted to keep the name the same as they had pride in it,” shared Tatum about the gin. She wants to carry the gin on with hopes that her daughter, Ella, will be willing to continue it in the future.
For now, Tatum is applying the lessons she learned from her late husband, Brian.
“I had one of the best teachers I could have ever had—my husband. Without him guiding me and teaching me and working together, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she said.
Brian made sure that Tatum knew the ins and outs of Enfield so it could continue. She is determined to continue that legacy. Tatum was able to hire on her best friend recently which has been a huge blessing.
“You’re not successful unless you work together and having my best friend alongside me for one of the most challenging times in my life after my husband passing…I couldn’t have asked for a bigger blessing,” shared Tatum. She added that, “We work off each other’s energy and it’s the best thing!”
Despite a bit of a girl gang at the gin, Tatum doesn’t see being a woman in agriculture as any different than any other individual. She believes that the best thing is to be yourself and not segregate one’s self from others.
Tatum feels that working together is the best policy, a sentiment that she carries into her relationship with AgCarolina Farm Credit.
“I’ve seen the good and the bad and the ugly when it comes to farming. We all know it is challenging every year—input costs, and things of that nature,” said Tatum who continued to explain that one of the biggest issues is parts. Obviously, machinery doesn’t work unless the parts do. “Sometimes the parts are astronomically priced, and therefore, you have people like Farm Credit that can help step in. They have loans that are available to help accommodate these things when you have breakdowns,” said Tatum.
Farm Credit is one of those relationships that helps Tatum continue the legacy of Enfield Cotton Ginnery, along with her husband’s lessons, her best friend’s support, and her daughter’s future.
Tatum’s advice for starting a new business in agriculture is simple: “Don’t be afraid to just sit down and talk to these people [Farm Credit]. They’re real people who I’ve become friends with, and I’m looking forward to working with Farm Credit for many years to come!”