Max Carter is pictured above in one of his fields with peanuts he grew using his “no-till” methods.
Agriculture Innovator Max Carter: March 6, 1935 – May 31, 2016
The Douglas and Coffee County community lost local farming pioneer Max Carter, who passed away last week at the age of 81 at his home on Warren Carter Road. Carter perfected the art of “no-till” farming, a method that is now used across the world.
Community Mourns The Passing Of Farming Pioneer Max Carter
Local agriculture innovator Max Carter, a true pioneer in “no-till” farming, passed away last week on Tuesday, May 31, at the age of 81, but the impact he made on farmers from across the world will live on forever. Considered one of the area’s true champions for soil and water conservation, Carter developed and perfected the art of “no-till” farming, which he referred to as “ugly farming.”
A native of Coffee County, Max Carter moved from Nicholls when he was around five or six years old to the farm he owned until his death, according to Jeanie Paulk, Carter’s companion for 58 years, and it’s obvious how much he loved his homestead on Warren Carter Road.
“All Max wanted to do was work,” said Paulk. “He was out on the farm when the sun came up and he’d stay out there until it went down every single night, daylight to dusk. As we got older and I started going to bed early, I asked Max why he felt the need to stay out on the farm until dark and told me, ‘I’ve got to put the farm to bed.’ That was Max.”
In the 1970’s, erosion on Carter’s farm became a huge concern, which led him to develop and perfect the art of “no-till” farming. But early on, Carter hid his methods for fear of other farmers thinking he was “crazy,” according to Ms. Paulk.
“Max started the ‘no-till’ farming in his back fields because he didn’t want people to think he was crazy,” said Jeanie laughingly. “Who knew that years later he would be considered a pioneer and a sought after speaker on the topic?”
With his “no-till” farming, Max could plant two crops per year on his 400 to 500 acres, normally going with peanuts, cotton and sometimes corn in the spring and then either wheat or rye in the fall.
Carter was visited by farmers and agriculture representatives from all across the world (India and Brazil are two examples) over the years, and he happily taught them his “no-till” methods. Max was also highly sought after by equipment developers in the “no-till” market, something he could have likely made millions on, though he chose to be what Ms. Paulk called “an unpaid consultant.”