Mark Y. Jenkins: farmer-dude

I visited with Mark Jenkins yesterday. He gave me a personal on-the-spot workshop on farm implements. I’m in the market for a drag harrow for meadow planting and he had four different ones to show me. Mark and I have been buds since I made my first trip to the Jenkins Farm and Nursery almost thirty years ago. Of course, Mark is the son of Margie and Bryant Jenkins, heroes in the Louisiana timber, nursery and dairy business. There aren’t many, if any, families like this around anymore: innovators of current technology by way of old farm technique.

Mark not only has a large plant nursery, but he has a well established market for pine straw and wheat hay and he knows how to do things in the field that most folks don’t. For instance, about fifteen years ago he planted a hundred acres in Long Leaf pine to harvest straw from. He has developed or modified mechanical equipment to assist in the management of the straw farm: very cool stuff.

He is an innovator when it comes to figuring out a way to git ‘er done, as they say.

Anyway, ask Mark a question on farm equipment and you will be in for a long-winded treat. I ate it up like ice cream on a summer’s day.

He showed me a field of four acres that he and three helpers cleared, de-rooted, plowed and then planted round-up ready soybeans, in three days. This is an amazing physical task. That is, unless you’re Mark and you have an army of tractors and implements to kick butt with. The idea behind his three day battle plan was to recover the land eaten up by Chinese Privet, Callery Pear, Sweet Gum and the like. They had over grown the entire bottom area and, as he has elsewhere on the property, he recovered the ground and put in genetically modified soybeans(GMO, ick!) which he will do for a couple years, so that round up can be sprayed, eliminating the invasive plants and recapturing the value of the land, putting it back to use. He also ends up with a crop of beans to sell. GMO’s are genetically modified organisms that are resistant to the globally popular(generally to big business)(some folks abhor GMO’s). But in this application, they are very useful and necessary tools.

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above: Mark, outstanding in his field. Soy beans just germinating after a week.

Some of the implements we looked at were used in the land recovery project. Amazing pieces of equipment they are. Most were bought second-hand and restored to working order. Some he found in junk yards before they were crushed for pennies and sent to China as scrap steel( Oh, the humanity!!!).

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above: super-awesome tractors and amazing mechanical harrows

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above: one of Mark’s land-recovery fields with beans just ready to spray Round-up

Many people don’t like GMO’s and herbicides, but folks like how Mark’s making than function doubly in the landscape.

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Above: Mark in a Nepoleonic pose (he was trying to hide the hole in his shirt so I told him just stick a hand in it and look Bonaparte-ish)

What a guy!

He’s got a black belt in 4-H.

peace ya’ll

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