As an extreme local drought, debilitating interest rates, and declining commodity prices hit farms across Alabama in the early 1980’s, Ricky Wiggins found himself in the crosshairs of the agricultural disruption that closed farms across the country.
One evening during that difficult time period, Wiggins said that he turned to God for guidance.
“I was sitting in my office one night, and it was fixing to happen,” said Wiggins, now 73.
“I was crying and praying and figuring. I finally said, ‘Lord. Thank you. I don’t know where I’ll be down the road, but wherever I am, I will be a better man, a better husband, a better father, a better Christian, and I will definitely be a better businessman, whether on this farm or wherever I am.’”
According to Wiggins, the very next day, a good Samaritan offered to save the farm from foreclosure.
Those trying times are now behind Wiggins, his family, and farm. In fact, the 73 year old farmer was just presented the Alabama Farmer’s Federation (AFA) highest honor — the Service to Agriculture Award — given to Federation leaders, elected officials, agricultural icons, and innovative researchers who work to impact farmers and rural Alabama.
Jimmy Parnell, Federation President, called Wiggins, “a deep thinker and a man of even deeper faith.”
“Ricky is one of those men you can sit with and just talk about farming and life,” Parnell said. “He has a desire to do what’s right, whether on his farm in Covington County or in the nation’s capital fighting for farm policy reform. I’m pleased to present Ricky this Service to Agriculture Award.”
Wiggins, a row crop and cattle farmer, joined the Covington County Farmers Federation board, served as District 10 director, and assumed leadership roles through commodity organizations. He was elected Southeast Area vice president in 1998. He also chairs the Alabama Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation and has testified on Capital Hill multiple times regarding farm policy.
Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.