Brantley FFA hosts annual farmers appreciation luncheon

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

The Brantley High School Future Farmers of America held its annual farmers appreciation luncheon Dec. 1.
Over 30 local farmers were honored for their large contributions to the economy and culture, hard work, and continued effort to keep the agricultural industry alive and flourishing.

Guests began arriving just before noon and socialized outside the Ag room as the finishing touches were being put on the meal.

To begin the program, Jay Ryals, co president of the Brantley FFA chapter, gave a welcome to those in attendance.

“We are grateful for all of you and for the farmers that could not attend,” Ryals said. “We appreciate your hard work and determination and for providing food, other products, and jobs for our nation and for playing a vital role in society.”

After the meal was blessed by FFA member Gracie Lowe, the farmers enjoyed a meal of barbeque, rice, beans, potato salad, and cake while listening to the FFA members from farm families and other members share their connections to agriculture and their appreciation for farmers.

“Agriculture has always been a part of my life,” said Kamryn Ramer, FFA reporter. “I live on a multigenerational farm where my family has been farming the same dirt for hundreds of years. My grandparents, Edwin and Genese Mitchell, grew chickens with Wayne Farms for over 30 years. They still run a cattle operation and are hay producers. Although documents only go back to the early 1800s, my Native American ancestors were here long before, using the vast resources of what would come to be known as the Springhill Community, to live and thrive. ”

Other FFA members that spoke about their connections to farming were Logan Taylor, FFA treasurer; and Colton Searcy.

Donald Hilburn, of Rutledge is a retired famer who raised cows and chickens for forty three years. Hilburn looks forward to the yearly event and said that the hard work that goes into the luncheon and into the FFA chapter is evident.

“Mark Andrews (FFA Advisor) and the students really did a great job,” Hilburn said. “ I appreciate them thinking about us. There are so many people that don’t really think about farmers and where their food actually comes from other than the grocery store. I appreciate the recognition they give to the local farmers and what they do to create more interest in agriculture. The FFA program at Brantley is top notch and it shows.”`

The presentation by Brantley FFA members included the reciting of Paul Harvey’s “God Made a Farmer” and other speeches. The program was closed with a few lines from a song entitled “Thank a Farmer” by John Wesley read by Josie Knighten, FFA co-president and BHS senior.

“I still believe in amber waves of grain, man on his knees praying for rain, that grew this country strong and keeps us moving on,” she said. “They get tougher as their lives keep gettin’ harder. Oh, I think it’s time we all thank a farmer.”