Occasionally, a resident of Holcomb will stop Little on the street and recount how his father, “Mr. Buddy,” as he was known locally, had “taught me how to work.” For both Johnny and his father, that character trait is more than time spent on a tractor seat.

For his father, it meant coming back to the farm at 30 years of age after his own father had died, to run the farm and take care of his younger brothers and sisters.

For Johnny, it meant having to quit playing baseball at age 11 to work the cotton harvest. Or perhaps, it meant never having the time to capitalize on his singing talent.

And he can sing: In fact, he has a bachelor of music from Delta State University, where he sang with the vocal and instrumental ensemble, Renaissance. Today, he sings in church and whenever else he feels the urge.

“I can sing just anything that has a heartfelt melody to it,” he says

If he were to put his life into a song, the words would probably temper the sting of a low cotton price with the excitement of surging yield monitor readings — or the sacrifice required to work the land with the joy of doing something you love to do. The title?

“That’s Farming” has a nice ring to it, he says.