Chamber hosts Ag Day for junior ambassadors

Published 3:00 am Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Pike County Chamber of Commerce hosted Ag Day for the Chamber’s Junior Ambassadors Wednesday in conjunction with Farm-City Week activities.

The Junior Ambassadors are selected from applications submitted by high school juniors at each of the four high schools in Pike County. Four juniors from each high school become, in Ag Day terminology, the “cream of the crop,” said Chamber President Kathy Sauer.

“All of the applicants are outstanding but membership in Junior Ambassadors is limited to 16,” Sauer said. “The purpose of Junior Ambassadors is to learn about the county’s economic sectors and to experience different aspects of Pike County. Each ambassador is required to contribute volunteer hours to the community and to also volunteer for a school project. Junior Ambassadors is an endorsed school activity and a wonderful learning experience for these high school juniors.”

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Sauer said the Junior Ambassadors took a looping tour of Pike County from the Pioneer Museum of Alabama where they learned about manually operated farm implements to SunSouth Tractor and Farm Equipment Dealer where they were impressed by the progress made in farming equipment to a poultry farm, a catfish pond and a TREASURE Forest.

“The ambassadors were amazed when Bo Boyd, SunSouth manager, responded as to the cost of one of the tractors,” Sauer said. “Because the tractor was two years old, the cost would be around $250,000. They realized that farming is not only big business, it’s a costly business.”

Hudson Rose said he was amazed to see the advancements in agriculture and how far farming has come today.

“And, I liked learning about new and old technology in agriculture,” Trey Vardaman said.

The Junior Ambassadors took a riding tour of rural Pike County and stopped at Jesse Wheeler’s farm near Shiloh. There, they learned about Wheeler’s cattle and poultry operations.

“I enjoyed visiting the chicken farm because I like the ordering process they go through to make their business successful,” Joshua Foster said.

Logan Morgan, laughingly, said now he knows where Chick-fil-A chicken comes from.

The next stop was at the Banks Buy-Rite.

“We wanted the Junior Ambassadors to visit a market that is very much like the old county stores that once could be found all around the county,” Sauer said. “The Banks Buy-Rite is just about the only store of its kind in Pike County. It’s a place were people congregate for breakfast and lunch. It’s the voice of the community. It’s where people come to find out about the people and events in their lives. There’s no way to say how valuable country stores like this are to the people they serve.”

The ambassadors had lunch at John and Carol Dorril’s Clay Hill Farms and learned about forest and pond management from Deborah Huggins-Davis and the Dorrills.

To a one, the Junior Ambassadors said Ag Day was an enjoyable learning experience.

Kaylee Ferrano said she learned so much she didn’t know about agriculture. Even though Emmy Stevens has a background in agriculture, Ag Day gave her extra information that she did not know.

“Some of the Junior Ambassadors had never sat on a tractor before, while one of them has four poultry houses on their farm,” Sauer said. “But for all of them Ag Day was a good learning experience.”