Farming is a tough job by any measure. Hours are unpredictable, there is a lot of hard labor involved, and we are met with unpredictable challenges often. However, you would be hard pressed to find a more rewarding use of time. Some of my biggest pleasures are eating that first squash out of the garden in the summer or watching a newborn calf run around its mother as she watches cautiously. Those simple moments make the work and worry completely worth it all. It is nice to know that I am not alone in having these joys, and many people in the area are interested in beginning to farm as a hobby, second job, or career.
I can see nothing but a positive in the “Back to Ag” social movement that we are experiencing. High school agriculture classes and FFA groups across our high schools are growing, and those participating are taking what they are learning to serve their neighbors and community through service projects with the elementary schools and other groups. For example, South Stokes FFA students are raising chickens from elementary embryology programs, processing themselves, and donating them to the East Stokes outreach ministry. Pre-registration numbers for the small farmer courses offered through Forsyth Tech and Cooperative Extension show that there is significant interest in people moving toward agriculture. I am excited to assist in helping people learn how to farm as a part of this movement and look forward to see what happens as a result in our community.