Agriculture Article Class 2018

LEADING THE WAY… the treasures of our good land.

This I have the pleasure to introduce you to a guest columnist. Sanda Jones is a proud member of the Leadership Shelby Class of 2018 sharing her thoughts from this year’s Agriculture Day experience.

The backbone of this community is Farming.  Shelby County has always been a leader in agriculture, from dairy, tobacco and corn we have shown that through hard work you can build a business and a family. Farming is a business as the Leadership Shelby team learned by spending a day touring various aspects of farming on our Ag Day field trip.  We saw the hard work, dedication and pride that come with farming.

Participating in Agriculture Day was a very rewarding experience.  You truly don’t know what it takes to farm. Day Chairs Josh Hurst with Shelby County Farm Bureau and Corrine Belton with the Shelby County UK Extension office helped sponsor the tour for our leadership group. They do exceptional work making sure our farmers are taken care of, from bringing awareness of the latest policies, farming needs, marketing tools to  just being there to aid farmers in the successful operation of their business. We also wanted to give a huge thank you to Morris and Hammond catering. Agriculture day started with a nice hearty farmhand breakfast: Bacon, eggs, sausage, biscuits, gravy and more was a delicious way to start the day. We began with a tour of a local family owned dairy farm. Cherrywood Dairy is an amazing example of a small family dairy farm that has lasted over 50 years and is still going strong.  We learned how they have had to adapt to the various changes in dairy farming and how they have been able to maintain a farm, their livelihood, and business operation to produce a quality product for consumers.

Farming is challenging. It is a struggle like every business. The investment of time and money put into running a farm, creating a quality product and getting it to the consumer can be challenging.  The struggle to find good local workers is a huge problem among farmers. If you can’t get the product out of the field and into the grocery stores you have lost time and money. Shelby County farmers are extremely busy. Local farm Misty Meadows specializes in various techniques for performing artificial insemination, or embryo transfer for farmers who want pure breed beef cattle.  Shane and Mary Courtney’s farm has grown over the years from tobacco, to vegetable farming to livestock. The Courtney farm in Bagdad, KY is a farm that continues to grow and maintain a community presence through their passion for farming and agriculture. They are very dedicated to growing quality products and giving back to their community. They offered some insight into the H2A migrant worker program and how it has helped get workers when local labor has left many farmers.  The Courtneys and Gallerein Farms use H2A workers to help maintain their crops and land to offer the best farm products in our area. These farmers are leaders in what they do. How they produce their products and market them to the stores and get them to the consumers requires leadership in agriculture, an attitude of let’s make this happen. Gallerein Farms once stood as a dairy farm but over the years they have evolved and now are meeting the needs of the consumer with local sweet corn, vegetables and so much more.

To see young people go into farming was a breath of fresh air.  To see a field of local grass fed chickens and turkeys raised in northern Shelby County was truly jaw dropping.  Dutch Creek Farm was a perfect example of generation farming where the whole family is involved in this environmentally friendly farm. Ducks, chickens, turkeys, eggs and more greeted us as we toured this amazing family owned farm.

The ability to keep healthy livestock has to also be available in our community.  Shelby Veterinary Clinic is one of the most modern and specialized large animal clinics in the area.  The leadership group was able to see firsthand the qualified veterinarians and staff available to handle the needs of large and small animals here and for surrounding counties as well.

I was proud to see the dedication and pride that our farmers have and the hard work that goes into bringing quality food products to the local consumer on a daily basis. I Thank You!

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