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Young Farmers tour shows off county’s agrarian side

POSTED: July 30, 2012 9:24 p.m.
Photo by Paul Floeckher/

Effingham County High FFA president Jennifer Maddox and vice president Julia Gonzalez visit with some of the hogs at Jesse Stokes’ farm.

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Effingham County is a long way from Germany, but Jenny Daley feels right at home.


She and her husband Allen, a loan officer with AgSouth Farm Credit, were two of the approximately 50 people who took part Saturday in the annual Effingham County Young Farmers Tour.


“We just like supporting anything agricultural around here,” Jenny Daley said.


She said that going on the Effingham farm tour took her back to her days growing up near Heidelberg, Germany, where her family ran a restaurant and owned a farm where “we had cows and pigs and an apple orchard.”


“I love coming to farms. This area reminds me a lot of where I grew up,” Daley said.


The Young Farmers organization hosts the tour every year to promote agriculture and give the community an up-close look at local farming operations. The tour is open to anyone, and this year’s participants included fellow farmers, elected officials, teachers and members of the business community.


“There were several who were with us (on the tour) who are not actively involved in farming, but they’re farm-related in some way or another because of their support for farmers or because farmers support them,” said organizer Freddie Waltz.


Each year the tour spotlights a different area of the county, and this year’s focused on the northwest corner of Effingham, with stops at Richard Porter’s peanut farm, Jimmy Thompson’s cotton field, Jesse Stokes’ hog farm, Brant Clifton’s tobacco farm and John Burns’ pecan farm.


The tour was informative not just to novices, but also to those already familiar with agriculture. Jennifer Maddox, who has been involved in FFA since sixth grade and is currently the president of the Effingham County High School chapter, was impressed by the tour and wished she had participated in it sooner.


“I take ag classes, but this is way more in-depth,” Maddox said. “It’s a real-life thing. It’s not just out of a book.”


While Maddox was taking the farm tour for the first time, it was the second year in a row for ECHS FFA vice president Julia Gonzalez.  Gonzalez particularly liked the stop at the hog farm, since she said she wants to own one when she is older.


“I showed a hog last year, but I’ve never been to something like this. It’s great; I love it,” Gonzalez said.


“That is the primary goal – the educational value and benefit,” Waltz said. “You could see there was quite a bit of that going on.”

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