By: Raymond Fitzpatrick
Ag week is March 19-23 and to celebrate this year we received a request from Athens to write about our agriculture heroes. As I sit and try to write this my mind goes back to all the individuals that influenced me to go into a career in agriculture. I could write about other extension agents and I could write about Ag teachers and share many of the same stories of many of you that are reading this. There is no doubt that those individuals had a great impact on me as it relates to agriculture. But when I think of an agriculture hero there are too many to name, because when I think about the farmers of Franklin County, they are the real heroes. I think about the farmers that get up before the sun to go drive a school bus to get our children to school, then come home and work all day and drive that same bus in the afternoon, and then farm until after dark. I think about the farmers that farm all day and go to a school board meeting or a commissioners meeting to serve our community. In addition to those we have farmers that work tirelessly to advance groups such as the Farm Bureau to be a voice for agriculture. I have to think about the farmers that will work to get up judging classes for the 4-H and FFA livestock teams to practice. You see the farmers do more for this community than just farm. Look around at your friends and neighbors, the people that you go to church with, or the people your children play ball with, if you look around you will find a farmer. Agriculture is the largest sector of the economy in Franklin County and the people that drive that sector are the farmers. Many of us don’t have to worry about growing and producing our own food we may have a garden that produces some fresh vegetables during the spring but for most of us, our food comes from a grocery store and in most cases any food items we would like is there and almost all of it comes from a farm. The clothes we wear the food we eat even the products used to build our homes come from some area of agriculture. Webster’s dictionary list several definitions of a hero and I find this one most fitting “one who shows great courage.” You see, a farmer depends on the weather man more than most. They have to know when to plant and when to harvest. And well if you look at the weather that we have had over the past month I think you will agree that a farmer has to have courage. Courage to risk everything to make a crop, or courage to invest money into facilities to produce poultry or beef, as I think most of us can agree these people are some real hero’s. So as we celebrate Ag week across the state of Georgia take time to thank a farmer.