Ms. Annie Faye Woodson has been directly involved in farming and ranching in Texas for the last 76 years. At 100 years-old she stays up-to-date on Farm Service Agency (FSA) program news and still makes trips to the Fannin County FSA office to sign up for farm programs and to certify acres. It is no surprise that Woodson has seen many changes throughout her life on the farm.
"I rode in a wagon, buggy and tractor," said Woodson. "Technology is the biggest change I've seen in my lifetime."
Woodson grew up in a small community in Gober, Texas, where her parents farmed 40 acres of land. Woodson remembers long hours of picking and hoeing cotton so naturally the greatest invention for her was the cotton stripper.
Woodson taught school for six years before marrying her now deceased husband, J.T. "Red" Woodson in 1937. The school district prohibited married women from teaching, so Woodson gave up her career and joined her husband on the farm that he took over from his mother.
At that time, Woodson and her husband farmed with a team of mules they received as a wedding gift. Woodson’s mother gave them the mules. Even though Annie's husband was offered an off-farm job during the Great Depression, they chose to continue making a living tilling the soil and raising livestock.
After Woodson's husband passed away, their grandson Tommy took over as farm manager. The farm is now co-owned by Woodson and her two children. The family raises wheat, oats, hay and cattle on 1,000 acres. They participate in the Direct and Counter-cyclical program (DCP), the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program.
While Tommy is responsible for most of the day-to-day operations, Woodson is quick to point out that she is still “the boss.” Woodson worked cattle and plowed and planted the fields up into her 90s, but now she relies on Tommy.
"I'm her right-hand man," said Tommy. "There is no other woman like her that I know of who does what she does."
Not many ranchers made it unscathed by the severe drought in 2011, but Woodson got by without selling any of the family’s 80 head of cattle. They planted all of their acres to wheat and oats in order to graze their cattle through the drought. They also received a disaster payment through the SURE program. Woodson saw improvements in this year's calf crop because they brought in new bloodlines through the implementation of artificial insemination and embryo transfer.
"We have received Farm Service Agency subsidies for eight years and that helps," said Woodson. "The farm life has been a good thing for my family."
And the Woodsons have been a good thing for rural America. Their efforts have been a family tradition on the same farm for approximately 60 years. Annie Faye Woodson is living proof that production agriculture is a not just a livelihood, but a way of life… in her case, a way of life that has spanned an entire century, and “the boss” shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. Surrounded by children and grandchildren who are guided by their matron, Annie radiates enormous pride and enthusiasm. She gives all farmers and ranchers a hundred reasons to be grateful for her example.
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Great story, you go Boss Annie!
Mrs. Woodson should be featured on NBC Rock Center with Brian Williams or somewhere like that. America has no idea what it is to be a farmer and where their food comes from.
She is amazing at 100 yrs. old and still working. I was thinking I might have to give up ranching when I turned 75 but now I feel like a wimp for thinking that!!!
Thank you for the article.
What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing!!
long live Ms. Annie Faye Woodson, young generation should learn lot from you.
when i retire i want to do exakly what she is doing. long live the wood sons
A true role model. Would love to meet her sometime.
Ms. Annie, what an inspiring family life. It goes to show you, work hard, live well and life will bless you. Farm life is the best ever life to live!!
Great Story Cassie.
Would be good to know what her diet is like! Can’t believe she would be eating steak every week?! Regardless, Mrs. Annie Woodson is a great role model (in so many ways) and should be proud of her legacy. Annie, you are amazing!
I am two years new with the FSA Agency and am learning intensely about how and what FSA does to administratively assist farmers and ranchers. By far Mrs. Woodson's story is the highest example of farming pride, dedication, and family values I have be graced with. Thank you Mrs. Woodson for sharing such an awesome story. Your story truly inspired me to continue my career with FSA and learn as much as I can to understand more of what it takes to get my food placed on my table. Your efforts put things in clear perspective for me. Again THANKS!!!!!!!!!
What an inspiration! If only there were more people like Mrs. Annie Faye Woodson, you are a very blessed lady. God Bless You!
Great Story Cassie
Wow! Annie Woodson, you are AMAZING! I want to be just like you when I reach 100. You are so spry! An inspiration to us all. Thank you for all you do for the great US of A Annie! Keep up the great work!
Great Story Cassie!
What a wonderful story that shows that age is just a number. Go Boss Lady!!
Now 100 doesn't seem too bad. Tom turned 85 yesterday, went to see his doctor, and she couldn't find a thing wrong with him. Maybe you can write an article about him in 15 years. You always did have a way with words.
I knew Annie Woodson for many years and she was very dedicated to running the farm. She ran the farm and she was very dedicated to her family and friends. She was a very sweet lady.