The straight lines left from a recent mowing of Charlie Baucom’s lawn in Marion County, South Carolina seemed to stretch as far as the eye can see. It is lush green and there isn’t a bare patch or a brown spot anywhere in sight.
Charlie has the kind of grass people would pay for – and they do, from Charleston to Columbia, Charlotte, and Raleigh.
Baucom is a partner at Bentwood Farms, which supplies sod to home builders, real estate developers, and athletic fields across the Carolinas.
“We’re currently farming a couple thousand acres of turf grass, a combination of Bermuda grass, fescue, and centipede,” he said while overseeing the harvest that was underway on the land owned by Farmland Partners (FPI).
For perspective of how far Baucom’s sod operation stretches, a football field is approximately 1.32 acres, or about 57,500 square feet.
“We’ll average around 20 to 25 loads a day,” Baucom said of harvest. “So, you’re talking about … a million square foot a week.”
Specialized equipment quickly cuts the sod at the roots and rolls it into “mega rolls” for big jobs, or smaller rolls that are neatly stacked onto pallets for new homes. The sod is then loaded onto waiting trucks and ready for delivery and installation.
Such a streamlined operation requires logistical expertise, skilled labor, and strong partnerships, according to Baucom.
“We we’ve had a good relationship since day one,” he said of his relationship with FPI and its CEO Paul Pittman. “Farmland Partners differ from other landlords. Paul really believes in his land…he’s willing to invest in the water, the pivots, the drainage, the grading to make that land right.”
Farmland Partners differ from other landlords. Paul really believes in his land…he’s willing to invest in the water, the pivots, the drainage, the grading to make that land right.