For more than a quarter century, Wes Briggs has been the “footprints in the field,” helping his Georgia cotton farmers achieve the best possible yields.
Wes Briggs was raised in Greenville, Miss., attended Mississippi State University and later settled in Bainbridge, Ga., where he established Briggs Crop Services, Inc. In the years that ensued, Briggs worked hard to gain the respect and trust of farmers, retailers, Extension and industry personnel.
Although he has logged long work weeks punctuated by catching up on late-night paperwork, he is quick to say, “It has never been about me.” Instead, he attributes the success of his consulting business to his farmers, employees and his wife, Beth. “Working for good growers who do things the right way and on time without cutting corners has been a blessing,” he says. “Without them, none of the success I have enjoyed would have been possible.”
Briggs also notes, “Regardless of weather, I’ve taken pride in having all of my farms checked on time, and I realize that farmers expect reports when the sun comes up the next day.”
To help him achieve this goal, the Georgia consultant surrounds himself with good employees. His are not the only footprints in the field. Briggs has five full-time men that he counts on every day.
“We work as a team,” he says. “It’s a joint effort. Currently, these men have been with me from seven to 15 years. I want my growers to feel as comfortable when they speak with one of these guys as they would if they were talking directly to me. It takes time and a lot of hard work to develop this confidence.”
I tell my guys to never get stagnant — always strive to be excellent when nobody’s watching.”
And that effort is not lost on the farmers with whom Briggs works. Steve Jordan, who operates 3J Farms with his brothers, Mike and John, says, “One of the things that I admire most about Wes and his team is that they spend more time in my fields than I do. He provides complete crop services from planting through harvest to achieve the best possible yields. More than one farmer has remarked about what an awesome team Wes has developed over the years.”
Chris Walker, who manages three locations for Crop Production Services in Arlington, Donalsonville and Colquitt, Ga., says, “Wes is one of the most respected consultants I know and has one of the best, most well-rounded group of employees in the industry. All of his work is conducted with precision and thoroughness. On a personal note, Wes is a very good friend and an awesome father and husband.”
Al Pearson, a long-time friend who has known Wes since 1993, says, “Wes is a pioneer in soil mapping, plant populations, plant growth regulators, irrigation needs, nematodes and fertility. He has championed the use of residual herbicides – both pre and post – along with hand weeding to control resistant pigweed. Wes and his employees monitor cotton growth week by week and count the accumulated DD60s to determine if the cotton is where it needs to be. If not, they make adjustments on a field-by-field basis.
“He truly considers each farm and farmer individually and treats them like they are family. His heart is with his growers. Wes rejoices in their good fortunes and feels their pain when Mother Nature throws them a curveball.”
A Passion For Agriculture
Over the years, Briggs has grown his business into a full-service crop consulting company.
“We offer precision soil sampling, help with variety selection, equipment calibration, fertility recommendations and weed, disease and insect control and harvest recommendations,” he says. “During planting season, we work very closely with the planters to make sure the cotton, corn, peanuts and soybeans are planted at the right depth, population rates and row spacing. I tell my employees, ‘Treat the last field of the day like it is the first and never get stagnant. Strive to be excellent when nobody is watching.’”
Briggs also is grateful to have “friends in agriculture” to call on for advice. “When questions arise, I know I can turn to Extension and university personnel, chemical reps and companies and fellow crop consultants who all share the same passion and have had my back many times,” he says.
“I’ve been blessed in so many ways that all the hard work has been worth it. As soon as one crop has been harvested, I can’t wait until the next one is planted. The pressure we feel every summer tests us, but faith, family, friends and a love of agriculture carry us through and continue to pave the way for future generations.
“As for being selected as the recipient of the CCOY award, I am proud to be part of a legacy that was started many years ago. The past recipients have paved the way for guys like myself. It is truly an honor and very humbling to have been chosen as the 2015 Cotton Consultant of the Year.”
Wes Briggs’ Personal And Career History
Raised in Greenville, Miss. Briggs and his wife, Beth, now reside in Bainbridge, Ga.
• Earned B.S. degree in Agricultural Pest Management from Mississippi State University.
• Worked with Ciba-Geigy as a summer ag laborer in 1987.
• Worked with Valent USA in Leland, Miss., in 1989.
• Worked at MAFES Department of Entomology under Jack Reed and Randy Luttrell from 1990-92.
• Joined Southeast Agricultural Consultants in Vienna, Ga., in 1990.
• Moved to south Georgia and worked with Irrigation Services, Inc. on cotton, corn and peanuts in 1995.
• Started Briggs Crop Services, Inc. in 2001.
• Employs five consultants and provides services to 80,000 acres of cotton, corn, peanuts, soybeans, small grains and vegetables in Georgia, Florida Panhandle and southeast Alabama.
• Member and past president of the Georgia Association of Professional Agricultural Consultants.
Briggs and his wife, Beth, have two daughters, Mabry-Grace and Emma.