By Chad Hobbs
“When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization.” – Daniel Webster “A friend of mine has a theory that those who live closer to where food is grown are more religious. Because when you see how food is actually created, instead of just seeing it in a package in a store in a city, it gives you a real sense of awe.” – B.J. Novak As I have made no secret of to my readers, I feel the American farmer should be celebrated every day. However, this week calls special attention to agriculture on a national level with March 22-28 marking National Ag Week and National Ag Day falling on March 24. Once Daniel and Squire Boone started exploring the area we now know as Meade County and began establishing settlements, agriculture immediately followed. It didn’t take long for crops to flourish, growing in the fertile soils of this land. Corn and flour mills popped up in places like Doe Run and Otter Creek before there was ever a Meade or a county. From the sandy beaches of Big Bend in the north to the clay and limestone soils, surrounding Big Spring in the south, agriculture has nurtured this county since its infancy and allowed it to grow into what it is now today. It has been the constant, laying foundations strong enough to allow other businesses and industries to come to these lands and thrive. It becomes easy to take for granted those things in life which are constant, however. Air and water are necessities to life itself, but how often do we ever give them a second thought? Food is the third pillar of life, which in this country at least, is all too often taken for granted. The plight and neglect of the farmer has been the subject of more than a few of my articles. Many including myself have felt that the county was cutting off its nose to spite its face in regards to the whole handling of the granary being alowed to close. Then enters the coronavirus with grocery store shelves being emptied across the country at an alarming rate, as many began to hoard food in preparation of being quarantined to their homes for an unknown amount of time. May one of the silver linings in this whole pandemic be that some in the general public finally realize that Kroger’s does not produce produce. Hopefully everyone will see that it is two percent of the United States population that is preventing famine in this country and many other countries around the world. Is that not one of the greatest achievements of mankind? Do we not owe a little gratitude and support to the 2 percent of men and women who toil and labor in the fields so the other 98 percent of us can have full bellies and pursue something other than worrying where our food will come from? We have a great history and diversity of agriculture in Meade County that should be a source of great pride and celebration. Many a family has moved to this county because of the beauty our rural, agrarian rooted landscape provides to the eye. Mattie Mack’s voice was heard all the way to Frankfort and Washington, advocating for black farmers. There are many farms where you can find Americans and Mexicans working hand in hand sharing each other’s cultures along with an honest day’s pay. Our high school ag department and FFA chapter is thriving with two women, sisters none the less, running the program with a female officer team as well. We have Hardestys growing poinsettias in their greenhouses, the Sipes pioneering in the new hemp experiment as farmers look to diversify their traditional commodities, Stith’s and Webb’s, amongst others, providing custom meat options, and Barr Farms along with many others, giving Meade Countians access to fresh, homegrown produce. We have a thriving farmer’s market and an extension office with Andy Mills and Jennifer Bridge always a phone call away to assist and educate in all things agricultural from production to processing. There are farmers raising corn, soybeans, wheat, hay, berries, fruit, vegetables, hemp, trees, poinsettias, tobacco, cattle, hogs, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, bees, horses, donkeys, mules, lamas, alpacas, and even deer acrpss all corners of our county. So, whether it’s one of our loggers farming the woodlands or a row cropper planting a field, we would like to take this time to pay homage and give thanks to each and every one of our wonderful citizens who play a vital part in the agriculture industry. As the current pandemic has taught us, all the electronics, steel, and luxuries in the world mean nothing in comparison to our need for access to food. In the famous words of Paul Harvey, ‘so God made a farmer’ and thank you Lord for that!