News: From the Desk of
J. Michael Cross
This week’s column is dedicated to the Fentress County Farmer, the backbone of our economy, and the heart of our country throughout history. A couple of weeks ago, Jai Templeton, Commissioner of Agriculture, visited with us in our office. Also in attendance was our Ag Extension agent John Gunter with several other guests. The conversation was entertaining and educational. It was reflective to talk about the past, present and future of agriculture in Fentress County.
One of my grandfathers was a gardener and horticulturist and my other one was a share cropper, growing primarily corn somewhere between Byrdstown and Albany, Kentucky. My father was primarily a carpenter, but grew tobacco for as long as I can remember. I grew up in the tobacco patch, picking beans (30 cents a bushel) and hauling hay to gain a little spending money, or as my old friend Gib Holt would say, “A Little Folding Money”.
But back to the main topic: The Census of Agriculture says that we have 536 farms in Fentress County. These account for over 91,000 acres of farm land. The total market value of products sold from these farms adds up to $41,000,000.00. That’s $41 million in sales. Approximately 20% of our farms is in cropland, 40% in pastureland, while about 28% is in woodland. Over 240,000 acres of our county is in timberland (about three-fourths of our total county’s acreage). Almost $2 million dollars a year is invested in our various farm projects. These investments range from hay barns, livestock equipment, grain storage buildings and working facility covers.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture sponsors several programs including the “Pick Tennessee Products” program. There are currently 31 local businesses that enrolled in this program with the primary purpose of improving access to fresh and local agricultural products. An example is the Farmer’s Market in Jamestown.
Remember, without farmers and their dedication and determination, we all would starve. Be sure to thank a farmer this week for his or her contribution to our country and our economy. Kudos to our Fentress County Farmers.
We can be reached at 879-7713. Executive Assistant Amanda Hicks can also be reached at vog.n1534673631Tytnu1534673631oCsse1534673631rtneF1534673631@skci1534673631H.adn1534673631amA1534673631. The Fentress County Commission meets every third Monday at 6:00 p.m. following a 5:00 o’clock work session. All meetings are open to the public.