Once in a great while this job offers reporters the chance to meet someone truly special. Someone who has accomplished something that pulls at the heartstrings.
Such was the case last week when I had the chance to travel to Dobson and interview Trenton Snow and his two sons about their Century Farm.
Having spent years covering the now-famous Master Settlement Agreement and the decline of the tobacco industry, writing about agriculture often becomes an exercise in academics.
It becomes less about hands in dirt and more about the business of farming.
It’s easy to forget that farming and agriculture boils down to a dwindling number of hearty souls with not only the work ethic to make a farm viable, but a love of the land.
Farming is a noble, but precarious, vocation. Prices for your product are at the whim of both the weather and the market. A season of hard labor can be rendered useless with a week of bad weather.
But still farms, and farmer’s remain. Thankfully.
In case you didn’t have the chance to read the story last week, a Century Farm is a working farm that has remained in the same family for at least 100 years.
The criteria for getting a farm listed as a Century Farm is somewhat stringent, and often involves extensive research:
- The farm must have documentation that it has been owned by the same family for at least 100 years, as determined by abstracts of title, deeds and/or estate or will records.
- It must have been in continuous family ownership by a blood relative of the original owner or an adopted child of the descendant.
- A farm can only be recognized as a Century Farm once.
Interviewing Snow and his children, it was easy to see that the working of the land permeates their entire outlook.
His children, now grown and fathers themselves, told me fondly about growing up on an operating farm.
“My great, great, great grandfather was the original Snow to own this property,” Terry Snow said, noting that the family farm is actually much older than the benchmark 100 years.
His brother Rick Snow said he remembers working with his grandfather on the property as a child.
“It’s just something we’ve done our entire lives,” he said. “We worked hard six days a week, but it was fun for us. It got in our blood.
“I think this property has taught me what work is,” he added. “My grandfather and father took us to church on Sunday, but the other days we worked hard. The memories are precious.”
Unlike so many children today, the two younger Snows recalled leaving the house at dawn and being gone until lunchtime.
“As little boys we’d follow our father around like puppies,” Terry Snow said, glancing at his father sitting quietly on a four-wheeler. “We learned so much from him. About life. About work. About treating people right.
“He taught us so much…”
Which is probably the highest praise this reporter has ever heard.
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.