They say you should never judge a book by its cover. Well, Cam Floyd, who is Chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee for Douglas County, is one of those books. His cover, the tattoos, say nothing about his love of farming and agriculture or, that he even considers himself a farmer, but he is, and a good one at that. Those tattoos, at least some of them, paint a picture of why he became one.
“I think my biggest thing for tattoos and who I am is I don’t really blend in into certain environments,” says Floyd. “That kind of helps to my favor, to my benefit, is I’m able to walk through and actually be heard and be listened to because I’m not who they expect to walk in the door and just talk about agriculture and things. For my story, it definitely lends to who I am as a person now. My tattoos have grown and developed over the years into different styles. We say half my body is completely different. One is kind of black and white, like my past, and then going into the right side of my body is all full color. I kind of purposely did it that way.”
To understand the man and leader Cam has become, it’s important to know a little bit about his past. His youth, was a troubled one, he was in and out of group homes and by the age of seventeen found himself facing the challenge of a lifetime – fatherhood. That’s when Cam says he buckled down, eventually landing a Job at the Cracker Barrel in Newnan, Georgia. Turns out, that job as a dishwasher would lead to a successful career in the Culinary and Restaurant Industry.
“I took it serious and wanted to grow and started to see that even though the paychecks were minimal, they were able to take care of me and my son and was able to pay my bills and still be in high school at the time. I moved up to Prep Cook, I moved up to Line Cook and then Line Lead and, and then I discovered, well, this is something I’m good at,” says Floyd.
These days, Cam is the Culinary Director and Partner at Hsu and Hsu Restaurants. A group that owns a wide variety of establishments including Sweet Auburn Barbecue both in Atlanta and now McDonough. However, it was that first job after Cracker Barrel where Cam say’s he became obsessed with Agriculture, and the Farm to Table concept. That place? Serenbe Farms.
“That’s where I met my wife. She is still there to this day and I went there seeing this farm and this restaurant and I was like, it’s this fine dining concept in the middle of nowhere in Chattahoochee Hills. I experienced that they’ve got this farm, they’ve got these farm to table procedures. There’s a lot of restaurants out there that are farm to table, but in reality, we’re not growing pineapple groves. We’re not growing limes and those things here in this area, but there’s amazing amount of agriculture and farmers in Georgia. If you’re a chef, you have the number one dramatic input and effect on these farmers in Georgia. We don’t really have the footprint for one farm in Georgia to supply for one restaurant, so why not find five? They might all have different potatoes, but support all five and you can have a potato from all five, you know? That’s been my mission; how do we find these small farms that are trying to make it and push them into agriculture and then into the restaurants,” says Floyd.
One way he’s hoping to find those farms is through networking, and Cam’s network is pretty extensive. He’s active on Social media, the legislative arena, school classrooms, and of course, his communications with Young Farmers throughout the state. In May of 2021, he and a business partner started a non-profit called, MAES Farmers Market. A platform with the goal of showcasing small farmers to the public. If all that wasn’t enough, Cam routinely host’s Harvest Days and Farm Tours, as well as something he calls the homestead series. That’s also where Cam teaches the art and skill of processing livestock.
“This is more than just having a hundred acres, producing a row crop, or producing an animal,” says Floyd. “How can we focus on ag? How can we support these farmers? I think that’s my biggest focus, is building a team to support those farmers that have a hundred acres. A lot of times they’re out there in the middle of nowhere and they’re on their own. They don’t have as many resources or connections until they go to a Farm Bureau office or some of the other avenues they go through. That’s kind of been my focus: not only do you not have to be a farmer with a full scale operation to care about ag, you can purely just involve yourself in any capacity.”
By: Ray D’Alessio