Dowdle Family Farms is owned and operated by Rob and Megan Dowdle. Rob is the seventh generation of Dowdle’s to have a farm on the land. His family originally acquired the land through a land grant in 1826 (or perhaps 1824). Rob’s dad, Jim Dowdle, imbued him with a love for the farm at an early age. Many of his diapers were changed on the farm as a toddler! Much of his time as a kid and teenager was spent playing and working on the farm, helping his dad. Many of Rob’s fondest memories as a kid occurred at the farm. Whether it was the Sunday afternoon softball games or the late nights working cattle with his brothers and dad, the farm has played a significant role in his life, as it has in the lives of previous generations. For Rob, the farm, the land, is as much about family, as it is anything else.
After graduating from high school, Rob went to Mississippi College and graduated with a degree in Christian Studies and Philosophy. He then earned a masters degrees at McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University in Atlanta and while in school there married Megan Brown Dowdle, from Yazoo County, MS. After graduation, Rob and Megan moved to Princeton, NJ where Rob earned a second masters at Princeton Theological Seminary. In 2009 they moved to Ocilla Georgia where Rob pastored a church and Megan worked as a physical therapist.
In high school, Rob had been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and had intermittent problems with the disease. While living in Ocilla, Rob began having significant problems with the disease and he and Megan began looking for healthier ways of living. They grew a small garden and began growing much of the food that they ate. After living in Ocilla for nine years, Rob and Megan decided to make significant lifestyle changes and to move closer to home. After returning home, Rob and Megan started Dowdle Family Farms and started pastoring Immanuel Baptist Church in Steens, MS.
While the family connections to the farm are a strong part of the impetus behind Dowdle Family Farms, Rob’s return to the farm were also motivated, in large part, by a desire to raise health, high quality, nutrient dense food for his family. Healthy food, from healthy animals, raise in humane conditions is difficult to find. At the same time, he seeks to offer that same food to local consumers as well.
Initially, Dowdle Family Farms sold produce and eggs while waiting for the livestock part of the farm to grow. In 2017 and 2018 Dowdle Family Farms primary food production was for their own consumption, though they sold pastured eggs. The Spring of 2019 saw the sell their first batch of pastured meat chickens. That summer they harvested the first honey from their honeybees. Later that Fall, Dowdle Family Farms sold their first retail cuts of beef. Then, in the spring of 2020 they sold their first cuts of pork. As the farm continues to grow, we are grateful to all who have been a part of this journey towards reviving a local, family farm.