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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Lauch Faircloth, March 22, 1999. Interview I-0069. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Business ventures in North Carolina

Faircloth recalls some of his early business decisions, such as his purchase of timber land to meet a growing demand for paper, and his acquisition of a number of car dealerships in the North Carolina Piedmont. In the 1960s, Faircloth began to conceive of new ways of "growing" hogs.

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Oral History Interview with Lauch Faircloth, March 22, 1999. Interview I-0069. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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JM: Let me ask this question. Was your decision to get out of the produce business largely driven by economics or less driven by economics than by personal affinity? LF: Oh, less by economics. It was a very good business. It is still a very active business here in the county. There are some big operations here. But, you couldn't do everything and that constant moving. It's a highly volatile business. So, what did I have? I had the produce. Then we got into the hog growing business. JM: Again, let me ask another question before we move on towards hogs. Did you have something as formal as a broad business strategy, buying businesses like land clearing and concrete? Were you anticipating a certain pattern of growth? Were you banking on something, or was this just local? LF: [We were] just moving on, doing whatever we could find that would be profitable. JM: How about the land acquisition, buying timberland? How did you measure the prospects for timber profitability? LF: Always with the assumption--. I guess, if I ever had a long range thought or plan, it was that ultimately, two things [would happen]. I think you're going to see the environmentalists, at some point, prohibit the cutting of timber on federal lands. Whether that's good or bad, I don’t know, but it's going to happen. So, there will be more demand for timber on private lands, as we're seeing. Also, there will be far less demand for timber. Anyway, at that point, I was seeing the move [away] from a lot of land. Timber was being cut on government land and public lands and [I was] anticipating that that would cease to be. Also, the demand for paper was escalating heavily. So, I bought a lot of timberland. Then I bought some more automobile dealerships. I had the Ford-Lincoln-Mercury in Sanford, Pinehurst, Greensboro, and some others. I picked up about seven or eight automobile dealerships. We established concrete plants in a lot of little communities, towns down towards Wilmington and in this area. But always, always [we had] farming. Hog farming became very profitable. The new and more precise ways of doing it. [Hog farming] has come under massive attack now by people that don't know how it used to be and really don't have any idea [of] what they're talking about. But that's beside the point. They're free to talk, and they do. We got into that--. JM: When abouts did you get into hogs? LF: Oh--. JM: Sixties? LF: Oh yeah. Early '60s. JM: Early '60s. [You were] already conceptualizing a new model for raising hogs? LF: Oh yeah. Of course, we were doing a lot of businesses that were businesses that would go with the concrete. Of course, the first thing you need [in hog farming] is feedmills. [Feedmills] always are concrete operations. During that time, I went to one of the Highway Commissions in 19--. JM: '61, I think.