For 15 years now local agencies have demonstrated their appreciation for Stokes County farmers with an event featuring food, live music, vendors and door prizes.
The 15th annual Farmer Appreciation Day was held at South Stokes High School on Thursday, April 18. Close to 500 people gathered at the school to eat a free meal, fellowship, listen to live music by the Rich in Tradition band, stop by booths set up by various local businesses and agencies, receive door prizes and listen to speakers.
The event is put on by the Cooperative Extension, Stokes Soil and Water Conservation District / Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, and N.C. Forest Service with the help of sponsors.
Local farmer Wayne Alley said, “They roll the red carpet out for the farmers and their families.” He said the event has a good meal and music, and the rotation between South and North Stokes locations from year to year is convenient for farmers across the county.
“They have put out a good effort,” Alley said.
James Booth, Stokes County commissioner, said, “It looks like everybody is enjoying themselves.”
He said of agriculture, “It’s very important … It makes up a lot of the income in this county.
Dr. Richard Reich, assistant N.C. agriculture commissioner, was present to speak to farmers about the importance of agriculture to the state.
“Agriculture is something that is strong in North Carolina,” he stated.
Reich spoke about the importance of marketing products locally and ensuring food safety.
“We need to make sure that future generations have the right tools,” he said.
Eddie Woodhouse, Farm Service Agency outreach coordinator for the state, also spoke briefly. He told the farmers, “You are hardworking. You’re the doers. You’re producing.”
According to information provided at the event, 2011 crop sales in Stokes County totaled $9.7 million. Livestock, dairy and poultry sales accounted for $10 million. The 2007 Census of Agriculture from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said there were 963 farms in Stokes County and 91,014 farm acres.