Junior Ambassadors soak in the wisdom of farmers during Ag Day

Published 3:00 am Saturday, October 29, 2016


The Pike County Chamber of Commerce Junior Ambassadors participated in the Agriculture Forestry and Conservation Tour this week and came away with a greater understanding of the Pike County agricultural community and a deeper appreciation for those closest to the land.

John and Carol Dorrill hosted the tour at Clay Hill Farms in the Pronto community.

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John Dorrill, retire ALFA director, challenge the high school juniors, to dream their dreams.

“Don’t be too proud to do things and to try things,” Dorrill said. “Don’t be afraid to dream.”

Dorrill told the Junior Ambassadors that he worked as a janitor when he was in high school.

“But I dared to dream,” he said. “I would be in the field chopping cotton and dreaming of owning farm land with a lot of cattle grazing on the hills. I dreamed and my dream came true. Don’t be afraid to dream.”

Carol Dorrill encouraged the ambassadors to use their time, talents and resources to realize their dreams. In doing so, she talked about the importance of good stewardship.”

Deborah Huggins Davis, conservation education specialist, also stressed the importance of stewardship.

“We must be good stewards of the land,” she said. “Our lands are managed for wildlife habitat, pine and hardwood timber resources, clean water, recreation opportunities and beautiful scenery.”

The Dorrills guided the Junior Ambassadors on a walking tour of their farm that included the woodlands and an aerator-pond.

The students also visited Jesse Wheeler’s farm in Pronto and learned about crop production and cattle, hay and conservation practices.

Wheeler was recognized by the Pike County Farm-City Committee with the 2015 Conservation Award.

The tour of the Wheeler farm also included Jesstin Wheeler’s poultry operation. Wheeler has four houses of 33,000 birds each.

Jesstin Wheeler’s poultry farm only grows out roosters because roosters make bigger birds, up to 9 and 9.45 pounds. The farm grows for Chick fil A.

The ambassadors also visited Southern Classic Foods where they learned about the products that are produced at the Brundidge facility.

Kathy Sauer, Pike County Chamber of Commerce president, said the ambassadors didn’t realize the large number of products that are produced at Southern Classic and that it has such a large distribution area.

“Southern Classic produces products that are sold all across the United States,” Sauer said. “The students were amazed that so many of their favorite products are produced in Brundidge. They were also amazed at how much it costs to go into the poultry business and they were impressed with the beauty of the Dorrill’s farm.

The tour group had lunch at Collier’s on Main in Brundidge and dined on Brundidge Burgers, the signature burger of the downtown restaurant.

Junior Ambassadors is a partnership program of the Pike County Farm-City Committee and the Pike County Chamber’s Education Committee. Each year, four rising juniors from each high school in the county school are selected to participate in the program. They are selected through an application process.