02/21/06 — On the farm: County should remember its roots are in the land

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On the farm: County should remember its roots are in the land

You do not often think about the agricultural economy when you are headed to the grocery store.

After all, most of us don’t really like to think about how the meat gets onto those styrofoam trays with the plastic wrap on top.

It’s easier that way.

But the truth is that the livestock producers in this county as well as those who choose to make their living by farming the land, are vital parts of not only this country’s food chain, but the local economy as well.

Monday night, representatives of the Wayne County Livestock Development Association gathered to honor some of their best — and to reminisce about what has been a pretty good year.

One of those singled out for recognition Monday was Overman Farms of Grantham, which was named Outstanding Producer of the Year. David John Overman, who started the farm in 1954, was inducted into the Wayne County Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2004, and for generations, the family has been active in the Livestock Association.

Earning the honor is a big achievement, but so, too, is maintaining a family-owned farm.

Few people really realize just how tough that is.

Also honored at the banquet was Belmon Bailey, who has worked tirelessly for 25 years as part of the team that makes sure that there is an agricultural fair in Wayne County every year. His efforts and willingness to do anything necessary during the fair and the months of planning before that, are reason alone for thanks, but his dedication has been noted by his peers as way above the call of duty.

Wayne County has long had a fair that is noted as one of the best in the state. It is people like Belmon Bailey who make that happen every year — and who make sure our fair is one that should not be missed.

As Wayne County continues to try to bring more industrial, retail and residential development to the area, officials need to remember that this county’s roots are in the soil.

Farming is an important part of who we are and who we have been as a county — and a resource that should not be forgotten.

Development of our economy is critical for the area’s future, but important, too, are the men and women who continue the tradition of working the land and supplying the food we eat in all forms.

Wayne County should be proud of its agricultural roots — and ever mindful that like any good resource — they must be protected.

That’s the best way not to forget where we came from.

Published in Editorials on February 21, 2006 10:28 AM