Looking back: Howell elected president of Southampton NFO

Published 10:24 am Friday, March 30, 2018

MARCH 25,1968

James “Jimmy” Edward Howell Jr., a 33-year-old Franklin area farmer, is president of the National Farmers Organization (NFO) in Southampton County. He was elected at an organizational meeting Wednesday night following the official establishment of the Southampton County affiliate of the NFO.  Southampton is the first Virginia county to become a part of the national organization.

About 70 people attended the meeting held at the Southampton County Courthouse. Keith Emenhiser, a farmer and representative of the national staff, was the featured speaker. He conducted the election of officers.

Other officers elected with Howell included: Marvin Whitley of Sedley, vice president; W.R. Wade of Sedley, secretary; and Benjamin J. Bryant of Sunbeam, treasurer.

Herman Cobb of Franklin was appointed chairman of the Grain Bargaining Committee. Other members of the committee include: Elton Raiford, J.R. Holloman, R.C. Councill Jr., and alternates R. M. Dickerson and Earl Lowe.

That committee will also handle peanut bargaining until a special committee can be set.

Also, three trustees were elected: Joe Barnes of Ivor, one-year term; J.B. Thorpe Jr. of Newsoms, two-year term; and John Moody of Franklin, three-year term.

David Whitley of Sedley was appointed chairman of the Meat Bargaining Committee. Other committee members are Robert Pulley of Ivor, Jack Pond of Sedley, Benjamin J. Bryant of Handsom and J.L. Porter Jr. of Newsoms. Alternates are Lon S. Marks of Capron and Howard Ellis of Newsoms.

A dairy bargaining committee will be elected when the organization meets in April.

One of the NFO’s most publicized weapons in its contract negotiations with processors in other parts of the country is its holding or withholding of commodities.

In some cases, this has resulted in destruction of livestock, burning of grain and pouring or spoiling milk, in an attempt to raise prices paid to farmers.

Howell¸ who farms 700 acres near Franklin in partnership with his brother-in-law, said he does not condone such actions, but does not condemn them either. 

“The NFO,” he said, “seeks fair prices for things we have for sale. Southampton County is the largest peanut-producing county in the nation.”

Howell said that the farmers received only about 10-½ cents per pound for peanuts last fall, compared with 13 cents in the early 1950s.

“Think of how our operating costs have increased in the meantime, however,” he said. 

“More than 100,” Howell said, “are charter members and have signed membership agreements, which extend for three years and continue for similar periods unless the member, in writing, asks to be dropped.”

Dues and service fees will run $25 a year until a time when a marketing contract has been consummated by the NFO covering a member’s commodity.

Then, the dues are canceled and the processor checks off 1 percent of the gross sales of the commodity for the NFO.

According to Emenhiser, the NFO has 1,500 chapters in 40 states; the membership total is not made public.

Union CamP announces promotions

Walter Wyatt Shorter Jr., former General Operating Superintendent, has been promoted to the newly created position of Assistant Mill Manager at Union Camp Corporation’s Franklin Mill.

Mill Manager Ernest G. Evans made the announcement.

Robert A. Moore Jr. has succeeded Shorter as General Operating Superintendent, and Sidney T. Nutting has been promoted to the position of General Power and Maintenance Supervisor replacing Moore.  Nutting was formerly General Superintendent of Converting.

‘Wildcats’ launch 1968 baseball season

The Hayden High School “Wildcats” of Franklin, opened their 1968 baseball season on a successful note Tuesday as they beat Central High School of Gatesville, North Carolina. The score was 8 to 1.

Right-hander William Washington picked up the win for the “Wildcats” as they launched their bid for a second consecutive state championship. He walked four and struck out three in four innings.

Larry Rose hurled the last three frames for Hayden, walking one and fanning three.

Maurice Cutler paced the “Wildcats” attack with three of the team’s five hits, Michael Williams and Russell Gainey each had one hit, and Otis Jordan led “Central” with two hits.

Hayden scored one run in the second inning, but broke the game open with five in the third. The big hit was Michael Williams’ triple with two on base.

The “Wildcats” added two more in the fourth when Maurice Cutler doubled in Larry Rose and later scored. That put the score 8 to 0 after four innings.

Central batted their lone run in the fifth when Joe Branch singled in Hollis Creecy.

“Both pitchers pitched well for this early in the season,” Hayden Coach S.B. Carter commented later.  He has four starters back from last year’s state championship. The pitching situation is well set with William Washington, Larry Rose, Johnny Britt and Lawrence Barnes. Barnes is the only left-hander.

The “Wildcats” played a rematch with Central Friday at Gatesville in a non-conference game.

CLYDE PARKER is a retired human resources manager for the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of the Southampton County Historical Society. His email address is magnolia101@charter.net