Young farmer gives

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 7, 2001

high marks to FMNP

By Jaine Treadwell

Features Editor

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When a group of farmers get together, usually it’s the older farmers who speak with the voice of experience.

However, it was a young farmer who could speak with the voice of experience at the Farmers Market Connection Campaign held at South Alabama Electric Cooperative Wednesday.

Dax Pugh was the only Pike County farmer among the group who has had experience with the Farmers Market Nutrition Programs and he gave the FMNP two thumbs up.

This summer, Dax took his produce to the FMNP market in Geneva County and came home with an empty truck.

The young farmer said he went just to test the waters and came back an advocate of the Farmers Market Nutrition Programs.

"I didn’t have any trouble at all selling the produce I took," he said. "Most of my sales were voucher sales, but I did have some cash sales, too. I think the FMNP will be very beneficial to farmers in our area. I would like to see us have a farmers market here in Troy. It would encourage farmers to plant more produce. It would be good all around."

Pugh said the FMNP vouchers are issued in $4 denominations and he priced his peas – crowders, white and purple hulls – at $12 a hamper.

"You aren’t allowed to give change back from a voucher," he said. "By pricing my hampers at $12, the customer could give me three vouchers and we would be okay. The farmers market offers good produce at good prices. Twelve dollars was a good price for a hamper of peas."

Pugh said the FMNP farmers market would be a dependable market for locally-grown produce and would be an incentive for farmers to grow produce commercially.

He has been growing peas as a "money crop" since he was 13 years old and has found produce farming to be financially beneficial.

This year, the Troy State University junior planted and harvested between eight and 19 acres of peas. If Pike County farmers decide to participate in the FMNP with a local farmers market, Pugh just might decide to increase the size of his produce farm.

Pugh also works with his dad, Monte, a Pike County farmer who grows peanuts and raises cattle.