Chris Jones: Green Publishing, Inc.
A long and scenic drive out of Madison toward the Georgia State line will lead you to Hudson Farms, located on NW Concord Church Rd. The route passes some of the most sweeping and beautiful pastures in Madison County, and this time of year the flowering perennial peanut plants turn the fields into rolling yellow blankets. Hudson Farms was established in 1859. Farmer David Hudson, who was born in Quitman, Ga., in 1969 and graduated from Madison County High School in 1987, has been a full-time farmer for 27 years. Born to Wayne and Barbara Hudson, he grew up on the farm. The same farm where he and his wife Debbie have raised their children – daughter, Taylor and son, Wade.
Hudson said that when he graduated high school, raising hogs was the primary function of the farm. Not wanting to get into the swine business, Hudson went to welding school and worked at Gold Kist Poultry for ten years and Advanced Vessel and Alloy for several more. However, when his father needed another set of helping hands back on the farm, Hudson answered the call and took up the family business. Today, Hudson Farms' staple crop is hay. They have a handful of cows and horses, but growing, cutting, and bailing hay pays the bills.
Hudson grows two types of hay: perennial peanut and Bermuda grass. Perennial peanut hay is strictly for horses, and most of Hudson's goes to Tampa. Bermuda grass can be eaten by horses or cows. The first cuttings of a season of all types of hay goes to cows, as it contains weeds and other grasses, which horse owners prefer to avoid. Typically, hay can be harvested every five to six weeks, depending on rainfall. If there is too much rain after the hay is cut and before its rolled, it must be fluffed and dried to prevent mold.
Hudson believes that a farm is a great place to raise children. His 17-year-old son Wade works on the farm. Hudson says the environment helps to instill a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility in his children. A farmer is often limited to the operational status of his equipment. When visited for an interview on Monday, July 3, Hudson was in the shop fixing a cutter instead of out in the field. “It's aggravating when your equipment breaks down and you really need to be in the field cutting,” said Hudson.