Thank a farmer

Thank a farmer

David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
For the second year in a row, hundreds of Preston community members showed up to thank farmers for growing their food.

The May 17 Thank a Farmer event, which attracted hundreds of people from all walks of life, was full of facts about Idaho and Franklin County agriculture, and several local farms and ranches had their stories highlighted there.

The goal was simple: to provide an opportunity for people, if they chose to, to thank a farmer for growing their food.

People had an opportunity to fill out a thank you card or scan a QR code and express their gratitude digitally.

All the thank yous will be compiled together and sent out in packets by mail to farmers in the area.

“It’s just to show the farmers ‘thank you’ for all that they do in our community,” said Braden Smith, a Farm Bureau insurance agent in Preston. “From growing the food all the way to the support and business that they bring into the community that keeps the community alive.”

“We know farmers have taken a hard hit the last couple of years and we just want to let them know we appreciate them,” said Brittney Smith, a Farm Bureau insurance agent in Franklin County.

The event was created and organized by Franklin County Farm Bureau.

The county has 727 farms and 276,073 acres of land in farming, according to the 2022 Census of Agriculture. Farmers and ranchers here brought in a total of $132 million in farm-gate revenue during the 2022 census year.

There were 46,000 acres of hay harvested in the county in 2022, almost 12,000 acres of wheat, 5,361 acres of corn for silage, 4,478 acres of safflower, and 3,179 acres of barley.

There also 35,274 cows and calves in Franklin County and that sector alone brought in $62 million in farm-gate revenue in 2022.

Put those all together and agriculture plays a vital role in the economy and culture of Franklin County.

“We know how important ag is to our community and we demonstrate that by doing something like this,” said Lance Zollinger, chairman of Franklin County Farm Bureau’s Promotion and Education Committee.

Everyone who attended the Thank a Farmer event received a free cheeseburger, milk and a bag of chips.

The event included some very large, and very expensive, farm equipment on loan from local equipment dealers, two calves, coloring books and other activities for youngsters, and a plastic cow that children could “milk.”

It was not by accident that it was held next to a local grocery store – Stoke’s Market – which not only welcomed the event wholeheartedly but also donated much of the food.

“We thought it would be a great way to tie the two together,” said FCFB President Travis Beckstead, who owns a cow-calf operation and markets some hay. “People come in to buy their groceries … and it just leads to an opportunity to teach them a little about agriculture.”

Beckstead said the event serves a dual purpose: “I think it’s important that we thank those who grow our food, and also educate those that don’t know where our food comes from.”

Zollinger said that after last year’s inaugural event, members of the community and businesses immediately reached out and said they wanted to help on the following year’s event.

“We immediately found out there was a desire to make sure this is something we continue doing,” he said. “I just love how well the community has responded. Everybody wants to support this type of event.”

Franklin County farmer Jason Fellows, who grows a variety of crops as well as beef cattle and horses in Weston, said the event was a great way to help connect people’s food with farmers and ranchers who grow it.

“I think it’s really important for the community to recognize where their food comes from, and that our local farmers are actually the ones producing it; they’re making food and fiber for everyone,” he said.

Fellows said that even though farmers don’t necessarily need a pat on the back for doing what they do, it is nice to know they are appreciated.

“It’s always good to be appreciated, even if you don’t feel like you need it,” he said. “There’s nothing better than a heartfelt thank you.”


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