Bill Franklin Farm in Rye Cove: A Family Tradition

Established in the 1800s, the Bill Franklin farm in Duffield, Virginia, continues to be family run.  Bill Franklin is the third generation to farm his land.  His grandfather was a full-time farmer; his father continued to farm full time. Mr. Franklin now farms with his children and with any luck will pass on the farm to his grandchildren.

The Franklins have a 200 cow-calf operation as well as feed and store hay.  The 200 acres of hay land, 40 acres corn, and rye and barley planted as cover crops are critical to supporting the cow-calf operation. “Any extra we have after feeding the cattle we will sell to neighboring farms,” Franklin said.  

Generally, the Franklins apply biosolids once a year on corn, and on hay every other year.  The additional micronutrients, nitrogen and phosphorous from the biosolids make the grass and corn look greener — generally healthier.

This year was a great growing year.  The Franklins cut as much hay on their second cut as the first cut. “Biosolids made for an ideal growing season with plenty of moisture, fertilizer with the biosolids that were applied,” said Franklin.

In addition to farming, Bill Franklin serves as CEO of the Scott County Telephone Cooperative, building and expanding broadband access. Opportunities have grown during the pandemic. Broadband is critical for businesses, education and farming for rural areas across the region.  “The use of precision agriculture, working from home, and educating families became a must versus a benefit,” Franklin said. 

With twenty years of experience, Mr. Franklin continues to write grants and continues to get as much funding for the people of Southwest Virginia.

While Mr. Franklin has enjoyed a full career of farming and working with the coop, his priority now is passing on the farm to the future.  Mr. Franklin enjoys and appreciates his family, especially his grandchildren, who take priority. Mr. Franklin is especially proud that his grandchildren appreciate the farm work and are productive when they are on the farm. He also takes pride in developing and inspiring a work ethic across the community. 

Whether family, friends, or neighbors, he says “treat people as you want to be treated and you will get along well.”