The Nacogdoches County Ag Pioneer of the Year wants to ensure that his family farm will continue operating for generations to come. Roy Mills, 67, said the award presented at the April 8 banquet is actually a tribute to his pioneering forefathers who toiled to build a successful third-generation farm. Mills said his father made a living on the land, and ultimately put his 10 children through college.
“My grandfather and father worked hard, sweated, and had to do some things that would be tough in our time and day," Mills said. "They cut cross ties and put them on a wagon just to get enough meal for two weeks.”
Mills taught vocational agriculture for 32 years in Tatum, Texas. His grandfather bought land in the 1920s and started the family farm in the North Redland area outside Nacogdoches. Today, Mills is actively involved in this community comprised of about 100 African-Americans. In retirement, Mills tends to 35 head of cattle and cultivates a worm farm to make his own fertilizer. Eventually, he said, he’ll earn the organic label for the beef and vegetables he takes to market.
"I’ve kind of been a pioneer in some of the areas coming up through the ranks and working hard on the farm," Mills said. "My wife tried to get me to not work as late on Saturdays. I’m almost a workaholic, but I just enjoy work on the farm.”
Mills cut short his day on the farm to attend the 13th annual Nacogdoches County Agriculture Appreciation and Awareness Banquet put on by the county's agribusiness committee. Nearly 400 people turned out to the Hotel Fredonia with featured keynote speaker Bob Phillips, the Texas Country Reporter.