Smith County Agriculture News – By Katie Martin, Smith County Extension Agent
It is that time of year when we are encouraged to reflect on all the many things we have to be thankful for. As someone involved in agriculture on a daily basis, when I think of what I’m grateful for, farmers always make the list. Not only do they help put food on our tables, fuel in our cars, and clothes on our backs, but they work as environmentalists caring for the soil and other natural resources, they work as educators teaching the next generation about agriculture, and they work as advocates to ensure American agriculture and the rural way of life can endure.
If you haven’t stopped lately to think about how important farming and agriculture are, not just globally, but right here at home in Smith County, you might be interested to know that in Tennessee, agriculture and forestry contribute over $81 billion to the economy and employees over 342,000 people. In our county alone agriculture output has a total estimated economic impact of $169.2 million with over 1,300 jobs generated by agriculture in the county.
When you look at the diversity of agriculture commodities in our county you see farmers working hard to produce everything from cattle, sheep, goats, hay, wheat, corn, soybeans, tobacco, watermelons, pumpkins, strawberries, peaches, blueberries, mushrooms, all kinds of vegetables, flowers, and so much more. Farmers and agriculture organizations in our county support youth in 4-H and FFA, provide scholarships, host livestock shows, volunteer for the Smith County Fair and other worthy causes. They sit on advisory boards, and hold leadership roles in the community, all while providing top-quality care for their land and livestock. It’s not an easy job, but I’m thankful for those that do it.
While you may pay a little more at the store for your Thanksgiving meal this year, I am thankful to live in a world with hardworking farmers who produce a safe and abundant food supply. A wise farmer once told me, “When you have plenty of food to eat, you have many problems. When you have no food to eat, there is only one problem.”
For further information about UT Extension- Smith County, please visit our website at smith.tennessee.edu or call our office at 615-735-2900.