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This year has held many disappointments for everyone in numerous shapes and sizes. One of the biggest disappointments for me has been the cancellation of one of the most important events N.C. Cooperative Extension, Surry County Center holds each and every year, Farm-City. We used this event to celebrate and recognize the beneficial partnerships between rural and urban communities that make our food supply safe and plentiful. The first Farm-City occurred some sixty-five years ago when two businessmen were seated together on a train to Washington, DC.
The year was 1955. Net farm income was declining. Farm costs, debts, and property taxes were on the rise. And, on this train ride, Charles Bennett from Vermont and Merle Tucker, Chairman of Kiwanis International Agriculture and Conservation Committee were discussing the poor public image of agriculture, the strong urban influence on ag policies, and a growing population with no direct ties to agriculture. To them, it seemed that farm and city people were drifting farther and farther apart. They felt that positive public relations between farm and city dwellers must be improved.
Mr. Bennett made these issues public and soon after the National Farm-City Committee was created and coordinated by Kiwanis International. The Kiwanis coordinated Farm-City until 1988 when the American Farm Bureau Federation assumed the responsibility. These same efforts continue today by trying to establish a better understanding between the agriculture community and urban dwellers. Across the entire country, Farm-City events are planned by Cooperative Extension, agribusinesses, farmers, youth groups, civic groups, and other organizations to educate the public about the interdependence of agriculture and industry.
Each year National Farm-City Week is proclaimed by the President as being the week leading up to and including Thanksgiving Day. Our Farm-City event would have been on Monday but this year we had to forego this celebration. It just does not seem right not to be able to say “thank you” to those that have worked so hard throughout the year to bring all of us the safest and inexpensive food supply in the world. our farmers have made this happen and continue to make it happen every single day.
So today, I want to say THANK YOU to the American farmer, to our Surry County farmer. To each of you that work throughout each day, and many times throughout the night, to provide for your family and the families all over this great nation. While this year has been full of challenges, I know we can count on you. Thank you for what you do.
This video was made in honor of our local farmers. For those not pictured in this video, there will be another that you will hopefully be featured in. Please play the song “American Farmer” by Alabama as you watch this video.