Showing posts with label farming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label farming. Show all posts

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Blessing of the Combines ~ Another fun year !

I said it last year: This IS a must attend event!  Even if you do not move from you seat along the sidewalk in the shade the entire time you must attend at least once. 

There's just so much to see and  so much to do! 
Steve Hales did such a wonderful job and certainly entertained the crowd.  He's a great auctioneer too! 
Worcester County Commissioner Virgil Shockley spoke some powerful words too along with a little history on the origin of the Blessing of the Combines and how this extra special day began with Gus Payne and daughter Becky Payne.

Rev. Tina Whaley asked for Gods blessing on the combines and the farmers.

Delegate Mike McDermott was the keynote speaker for the days events.  "Sowing and Reaping" was the theme for his speech and as usual it was powerful!  Delegate McDermott, who very seldom makes a copy of his speeches did for this occasion and I have posted it here.  His words say it all and everyone agreed.....farming heritage is most important.  (Thanks, Mike).  

Sowing and Reaping
Blessing of the Combines-Snow Hill, MD 8-4-2012
by Delegate Michael A. McDermott
"Today we gather to celebrate and recognize the importance of our farming acknowledge its importance to our world, and to ask God’s blessing upon those whose hard work makes food available for our tables.
Let us recall our humble beginnings.

There are homes here in town that were standing and full of life when our founders reached into their bag of seed and sowed independence into the hearts of their countrymen. Men and women stood on these very streets and saw the dawn of liberty. They would pledge everything to secure a hope and a future so that we could be a free people.

We are that posterity which was declared in the preamble of our Constitution and now the task of passing on "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" rests with our generation just as it was declared and passed down to us. It is a sacred trust.

Let us thank God today that many present here with us pursue their happiness while operating a combine. They do so in an ever changing environment full of risks and challenges. They are the original conservationists who clearly have a dynamic relationship with the land that is both historic yet always with an eye toward the future. It comes as no surprise that many of the original delegates to the First Continental Congress were farmers. They were men of shared vision and a passion for the land.

Maryland, from the beginning, has recognized the importance of farming to our economic well being as a people. It is for good reason that you find a farmer and a fishermen on the Great Seal of the State of Maryland, and it should serve as a constant reminder to all of the importance these two occupations played in the founding of our state.

We must do all that we can to preserve the right to farm for in doing so, we preserve ourselves.

It is time for a new generation of sowers to rise up that we might preserve liberty for all of our tomorrows. Change is needed if we are to expect farming to remain viable in Maryland. We must demand a regulatory environment that is reality based and governed by the Department of Agriculture and not the Department of the Environment.

We must demand that, before they are implemented, all further regulations and permitting practices take into account the full impact on our farming communities including their long term economic viability. And while the Eastern Shore takes care of our 4% responsibility for the health of our Bay, we must insist that Baltimore City and the metropolitan counties take a hard look in the mirror for the other 96%.

We must insure that those who choose to pass on their farming traditions can do so without the fear of their land being lost by crushing tax liabilities..and we must demand that taxpayer funded law school clinics do not terrorize our farm families. The attacks on our farming traditions must end now.

Every child in Maryland should be required to take a field trip to a family farm. Our culture must be viewed as something more than the fields and barns they drive by on their way to the beach. The children of Maryland need to know that their food does not originate in a grocery store. Education and liberty walk side by side and hand in hand.

I want our young people to know that there is a hope and a future for farming in America and especially on the Eastern Shore. I want them to embrace new and innovative technology and techniques just as those who have gone before them have done throughout history. We are the breadbasket of the world and our farmers lead the way.

In our midst today are tomorrow's farmers. Their hopes and dreams are precious and insure that our own future is secure and prosperous. Today, let us determine to do all we can to protect those dreams. Let us insure that the blessing of the combines does not become a parade of antiques that we dust off once a year to remind ourselves what life use to be like on the Eastern Shore.

Let us stand together today with our farming brethren and again sow the seeds of freedom that will insure that our children’s children have the opportunities of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness all the days of their lives.

May God Bless Maryland."

Rachel Allman has a powerful voice and sang the National Anthem plus a few more songs.  In this photo Rachel sings with The Country Grass.

Little Miss Worcester County Farm Bureau Mallory Lambertson  after the parade.
More photos to be posted.  I haven't even gotten to the parade which was actually before the speeches and the blessing of the combines.  So keep checking back....there's lots more to be posted later today.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Another Proposal From the Obama Administration: Prevent Children From Doing Farm Chores

Bennie Hall Farms
Eastern Shore Virginia
Photo jmmb

Rural kids, parents angry about Labor Dept. rule banning farm chores

By Patrick Richardson
A proposal from the Obama administration to prevent children from doing farm chores has drawn plenty of criticism from rural-district members of Congress. But now it’s attracting barbs from farm kids themselves.

The Department of Labor is poised to put the finishing touches on a rule that would apply child-labor laws to children working on family farms, prohibiting them from performing a list of jobs on their own families’ land.

Under the rules, children under 18 could no longer work “in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials.”

“Prohibited places of employment,” a Department press release read, “would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.”

The new regulations, first proposed August 31 by Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, would also revoke the government’s approval of safety training and certification taught by independent groups like 4-H and FFA, replacing them instead with a 90-hour federal government training course.

Rossie Blinson, a 21-year-old college student from Buis Creek, N.C., told The Daily Caller that the federal government’s plan will do far more harm than good.

“The main concern I have is that it would prevent kids from doing 4-H and FFA projects if they’re not at their parents’ house,” said Blinson.

“I started showing sheep when I was four years old. I started with cattle around 8. It’s been very important. I learned a lot of responsibility being a farm kid.”

In Kansas, Cherokee County Farm Bureau president Jeff Clark was out in the field — literally on a tractor — when TheDC reached him. He said if Solis’s regulations are implemented, farming families’ labor losses from their children will only be part of the problem.

“What would be more of a blow,” he said, “is not teaching our kids the values of working on a farm.”

The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the average age of the American farmer is now over 50.
“Losing that work-ethic — it’s so hard to pick this up later in life,” Clark said. “There’s other ways to learn how to farm, but it’s so hard. You can learn so much more working on the farm when you’re 12, 13, 14 years old.”

John Weber, 19, understands this. The Minneapolis native grew up in suburbia and learned the livestock business working summers on his relatives’ farm.

He’s now a college Agriculture major.

“I started working on my grandparent’s and uncle’s farms for a couple of weeks in the summer when I was 12,” Weber told TheDC. “I started spending full summers there when I was 13.”

“The work ethic is a huge part of it. It gave me a lot of direction and opportunity in my life. If they do this it will prevent a lot of interest in agriculture. It’s harder to get a 16 year-old interested in farming than a 12 year old.”

Weber is also a small businessman. In high school, he said, he took out a loan and bought a few steers to raise for income. “Under these regulations,” he explained, “I wouldn’t be allowed to do that.”


Monday, March 19, 2012

New Business Located In Pocomoke

Only two locations on the east coast.....

A new business has opened in the Pocomoke City Industrial Park. Aurora Agronomy has opened its doors servicing the farmers of the Eastern Shore with  their crop/farming  needs.

Aurora Agronomy is headquarted in Aurora, Nebraska and has provided agricultural services for farmers in that state and the farming communities in Kansas as well.

During the summer of 2011 Aurora Agronomy opened two locations on the east coast, selecting the Eastern Shore for both locations.

The other facility is located in Seaford, Delaware.

Signs by:
Owner /operator of Makuchal's Signs, Wally Makuchal, Jr.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bill For More EPA Power Dies In Lame Duck-Session

Congress passed over the Chesapeake Clean Water Act during the lame duck session, which was folded into a larger bill called the America's Great Outdoors Act. The bill would have given the Environmental Protection Agency greater power monitor and take steps to reduce the Bay's pollution.

Senate leaders could not gather enough votes to prevent a filibuster on the America's Great Outdoors Act.

The Chesapeake Clean Water Act would have put into law many of the bay cleanup actions already under way by the EPA. However, the bill's co-sponsors Senators Benjamin Cardin and Elijah Cummings, both of Maryland, have said they will reintroduce the bill in the next Congress.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation was a major backer of the bill and lobbied for it.

The region's riverkeepers, however, felt the bill was weakened too much during the Senate committee process.

However, the bill drew strong opposition from farming groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation. The farm bureau said the Chesapeake Clean Water Act would fundamentally change the way the existing Clean Water Act is enforced.

The bill may have a tougher road to approval the next time around, particularly in the House of Representatives, which is switching to Republican control.

Even with the bill's failure, the Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort is moving ahead. Next week, the EPA will finalize a pollution diet that will limit how much nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment can flow into rivers, streams and the Chesapeake. The goal of the diet is to reduce pollution enough to eventually get the bay off the list of the nation's "impaired waters." States that don't meet their new limits could face federal sanctions.

Monday, October 11, 2010

84 Year Old Farmer Donates Harvest To Salvation Army Food Pantry

CUMBERLAND — Lou Simmons believes that if every farmer were to donate a small portion of each harvest to the poor, no one would go hungry in America.

Simmons, who turns 84 next month, is doing his part by donating every single apple, pear, peach and cherry from his modest orchard atop Irons Mountain to the Salvation Army in Cumberland. Salvation Army volunteers distribute more than 30,000 pounds of fruit from the Simmons orchard each year.

Kitty Willison, director of social services at the Salvation Army on East First Street in South Cumberland, said the fresh fruit adds to the agency’s food pantry and is a highly desired commodity each season.

“Something like that would be a little different,” Willison said. “A lot of times (clients) will ask us if we have fresh fruit or vegetables.”

On Friday, eight young men from the Green Ridge Youth Center in Flintstone toiled under the supervision of Mark Miller, resident adviser, on a cool and breezy morning. Simmons expected that over a four-hour period, the youth center crew would pick and pack into small boxes approximately 2,000 pounds of apples. Maybe more.

The adjudicated youth are not being named due to their status as minors. However, they were pleasantly surprised at the variety — and the taste — of apples of various sizes.

“Is this edible?” one young man asked.

After Simmons sighed, smiled with patience and assured him it was, the boy took a hesitant bite.
“Actually, it’s pretty good,” the boy said before heading to the nearest apple tree.

It wasn’t long ago when Simmons, believing he was nearing the age of retirement, envisioned an empty orchard and planned to cut down his trees. He credits Judy Hodel, director of the youth center, in saving both the orchard and people in need from going hungry.

“When she found out, she says, ‘Don’t you dare,’” Simmons said. “Without her, there’d be no more orchard.”

Simmons used the opportunity to chat with the boys — he loves to tell a tale — and suggest that they use their time at the youth camp wisely.

“I don’t know what you did and I don’t care,” Simmons told the group while on a short break. “Get yourselves straight. Work hard.”

Hodel believes the work and the atmosphere serve the boys well. She credited Simmons with sending the camp some apples to share with everyone, providing the work crew lunch “plus lots of stories.”

“It’s a beautiful place,” Hodel said of the Simmons orchard. “It’s a place of serenity in its own right.”

The boys, Hodel said, “get a sense of helping other people. They get a work ethic. They get some teamwork skills (and) social time that’s not out getting into trouble on the streets. A lot of them probably have never experienced an apple orchard.”

Hodel is thankful Simmons is willing to keep the orchard operational.

“He does a great service,” Hodel said. “He feeds people with his apples. He donates everything he has. I hate to see that get lost.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Accomack County will be Declared Crop Disaster Area

Accomack County will be asking or help from the Commonwealth of Virginia as the Board of Supervisors have decided to declare the county a primary crop disaster area due to the extensive damage to crops during the high temperatures and almost non-existent rainfall in the past two months.

Officials estimate that non-irrigated corn will see a 65 percent reduction in potential yield this year. Soybean yield is expected to be down 15-20 percent. Losses in a yield reduction that large for farmers could exceed $6 million.

Accomack County is the largest producer of field corn in the State of Virginia and also is a vital supply line to Delmarvas poultry industry.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Farmers Of Virginia Encouraged To Participate In Small Grain Production Survey

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced today that the 2010 harvest of small grains is complete and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will now measure farmers' final production of those grains, including wheat, oats, barley and rye.

During the first two weeks of September, the Virginia Field Office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will contact more than 900 producers statewide as part of the September Agricultural Survey, also known as the Crops/Stocks Survey. Results will provide the basis for official USDA estimates of 2010 acreage, yield and production for small grains.

"This is one of the most important surveys NASS conducts each year," explained

Herman Ellison, director of the NASS Virginia Field Office. "Not only will we be gathering final data on 2010 small grains production, but we'll also be collecting information on quantities of grains and oilseeds stored on farms across the state.

"Data from the September Agricultural Survey benefits farmers by providing timely and accurate information to help them make critical year-end business decisions and evaluate the success of the growing season," added Ellison.

NASS will contact selected Virginia producers by mail or telephone and ask them to provide information on their 2010 production and on-farm stocks of winter wheat, barley, and oats. As with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential by law.

"NASS safeguards the privacy of all responses and publishes only state- and national level data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified," Ellison said. Survey results will be published in several reports, including the annual Small Grains summary and the quarterly Grain Stocks report, both to be released on September 30. These and all NASS reports are available on the agency's web site: For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Virginia Field Office at 800-772-0670.

Friday, August 6, 2010

12th Annual Snow Hill Blessing of the Combines

The Worcester County Times says it best I suppose. " Combines are a familiar sight on the Eastern Shore, moving purposefully and efficiently through fields of grain, corn and soybeans. But seeing a combine from afar is very different from being close enough to touch one. "

So here is your chance to see exactly what it is the farmers use on this good old Eastern Shore when they harvest some crops.


According to the Blessing of the Combines parade chairman, Mike Rew, the parade will take place in Snow Hill, Maryland on Saturday, August 7, 2010 beginning at 11:15a.m.

The Blessing of the combines will be given by the Rev. Sumner Jones.

Eight combines (old and new) will participate in the parade this year. The combines will travel down Route 12 and make their way to Green Street and park so those interested can get a close up view of what a combine looks and sounds like during the THROTTLE THRUST after being parked. They will remain parked on Green Street until 3:00 p.m.

Activities for ALL ages will be ongoing throughout the day from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
At 4:00 the Antique Tractor Pull will be held in the John Walter Smith Park.

Other activities planned for the day are as follows:
(and more)

Children's Tractor pull
Craft Booths
Local Artistis and their work
Hay Rides
Face Painting
Food vendors
Dove Release
Tootsie the Clown
Pie Eating Contest
Petting Barnyard
Scales-n- Tales Presentation by Pocomoke River State Park
Antique Car Show next to the Pocomoke River to benefit Coastal Hospice

The committee for this years events are: Kathy Fisher, Becky Payne and Mike Rew.

Call 443-783-1715 or 410-632-3838 for more information.

Take time to join in the celebration of the agricultural heritage of Snow Hill and honor the farmers.