J. Bruce Cumbie lives next to the 260-acre farm his grandparents bought in 1914, where they raised Cumbie’s father, and where Cumbie himself was raised. “My family owned a country store up the road and we’ve farmed tobacco, hogs, chickens, you name it.”
When his father’s health deteriorated, Cumbie’s way of staying in college was to rent the acreage for the next decade, so others could continue using the land while providing his family with a small income. “It was the only way to keep the land in the family and keep it from getting so overgrown no one could use it at all.”
After a 34-year teaching career in the sciences at Randolph Henry High School, Cumbie wants to keep the land in his family while using it to benefit the entire county. That’s why he’s leasing about 236 acres to the Randolph Solar project. “Solar is the cleanest source of energy we have, and our energy needs aren’t going to stop growing.”
Today, Cumbie farms a mix of pine and hardwood timber, after retiring from a 34-year teaching career in the sciences at Randolph Henry High School. He also keeps a garden and a small orchard.
“My land sits across the road from a state forest that is rich with wildlife (Staunton River Battlefield State Park). There’s turkey and deer and ducks. That land will stay protected. It’s quiet and peaceful, like the rest of Charlotte County.”
For Cumbie, solar is going to fit right in with the quiet life everyone loves about the area, bringing positive growth and development without altering the character of the community. “There are enough buffers that you won’t notice the panels behind the trees. Though, I kind of like the futuristic look of them anyway.”
“People are going to leave if taxes go up any further. We need people to stay, which means we need jobs, updated schools, and reliable energy. Solar is our best bet.”