Farm-City Committee off to an early start

Published 4:00 am Tuesday, July 28, 2015

When there’s a hint of harvest in the air, Randy Hale’s thoughts turn to gathering his Farm-City Committee to make plans for yet another successful Farm-City season.

Hale is chairman of the Pike County Farm-City Committee that is committed to deepening the understanding of the relationship between rural farmers and urban workers.

Farm-City Week traditionally begins on the Friday before Thanksgiving and ends on Thanksgiving Day. But, for the Pike County Farm-City Committee, Farm-City begins full throttle in September and eases off around Thanksgiving but is at work in the community year round.

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The Pike County Farm-City Committee is coming off a very successful 2014 year, winning the statewide Best Farm-City Award in its category and also the Media Award.

“We have a lot of good, hard-working people on the committee of 30 or more,” Hale said. “And most of them will continue on the committee. We’ll add four or five new members, and we’ve got a good group of young members, so we are looking for another busy and successful Farm-City program this fall.”

Hale said the Farm-City Committee will continue with programs that have been successful.

“The Job Swap is one of our most popular programs,” he said. “Two members of the rural and urban communities swap places for a day, and it’s very interesting to see how they try to fill each other’s shoes.”

Hale said Ag Day for all third-graders in the county and Classroom in the Forest for fifth graders are mainstays along with participation in the Pike County Fair and the Peanut Butter Festival.

“Of course, our Farm-City Banquet is a big event because that’s where we recognize those in the rural and urban communities who have made significant contributions during the year.

“We will continue to do the things that have been successful for us and add new programs that will be beneficial.”

Hale said city and county officials come together each fall to sign a proclamation declaring Farm-City Week in Pike County.

“The proclamation signing is a good event, but we would like to find more ways to involve these municipalities in the Farm-City program,” he said. “We would also like to have more participation from our poultry companies, Wayne Farms and the Equity Group. Poultry is a big and growing business in Pike County. And, it might be that we could create a poultry event as a part of our Farm-City activities.”

Hale said he will suggest to the committee that strong efforts are made to bring back the farm petting zoo this year.

“In the past, we would take farm animals to schools for the children to see and pet,” he said. “That was a big part of Farm-City Week, and I’d like to see us bring that back. Another program that I hope will be a part of the 2015 Farm-City Week is the Century Farm. We have a couple of families whose farms qualify, having been in the family for 100 years or more. These are farms of distinction and we need to recognize them with this award.”

The Farm-City Committee conducts farm-related tours each year. Last year, the tours were city tours of Golden Boy Foods and KW Container.

“The city tours were well attended, and we all learned a lot,” Hale said. “We might want to look at doing another city tour this year.”

Hale said the committee will begin meeting in August. He is looking forward to ideas and suggestions from committee members about new programs and activities to enhance the good work of the Pike County Farm City Committee.