Taking a gamble: Local farmer leases county bottomland to grow crops

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, February 21, 2023

SALISBURY — Farming is always a gamble.

Local farmer Bobby Waller has decided to take a gamble and lease approximately 30 acres of land located at 789 Campbell Road in Woodleaf. The land is south of the Rowan County Landfill and is adjacent to Second Creek. His plan is to expand his operations and farm grain crops on the land.

On Monday’s meeting, the Rowan County Board of Commissioners voted to approve the lease agreement with Waller. He will have to pay the county annual rent of $2,100 during the lease’s first term. Commissioner Jim Greene mentioned to the other commissioners that Waller was Rowan County’s farmer of the year in 2022 before they voted.

In an interview earlier this month, Waller said he wasn’t worried about any trash from the landfill contaminating the groundwater because it uses a liner system for prevention. The real gamble is if the neighboring creeks will flood the land and destroy his crops, something that Waller has experienced before.

“I got some bottomland on other creeks and in 2020 we had those two bad floods and we lost everything we had in the bottoms that year,” Waller said.

Bottomland is the land that lies next to a creek or a river.

“It’s great farmland — if it don’t flood,” he said. “You know, that’s part of working bottomland, you’re going to have to deal with that. I mean you never know. Whatever the good Lord blesses us with, that’s what we take.”

Waller is talking about the storms that caused county-wide flooding a little over two years ago. Two people were rescued from Third Creek after they unsuccessfully tried to retrieve feeding troughs that washed away during the storm, according to previous Post reporting.

Waller owns farmland near Third Creek and Second Creek; both had massive floods during the storm.

“We lost everything we had on the bottoms that year. Didn’t get a thing off it, not one single ounce of nothing,” Waller said.

When asked if he is going to build a fence to try to stop potential flooding, he said “that’s not even in the question” because it’s against the law to mess with the creek banks.

“That’s part of farming, man. If you got bottomland, you just go to deal with that,” Waller said.