Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Watauga County Dairy Farmers Making Great Progress, 1944

“Carolina Farm Notes,” by F.H. Jeter, Extension Editor at N.C. State College, Raleigh, in the April 1944 issue of The Southern Planter
Having established a reputation for growing and feeding high quality beef cattle, it is perhaps only natural that farmers of Watauga County should next turn their attention to improving the local dairy situation. Being practical men with their own hard-earned money at stake, it was also natural that they should go about this new venture in a methodical sort of way. Working with County Agent Harry Hamilton, therefore, they drew up a nine-point goal as follows:
        More men to sell fluid milk as a new source of farm income
        To adopt better feeding management of the dairy herds
        To place more dairy bulls in those sections where most needed
        To raise more dairy heifers for replacements
        To have more 4-H dairy calf projects which would help educate others about how to handle the animals
        More men to buy more purebred cows
        To build more silos for better feeding
        To hold promotion sales where farmers could buy needed male and female animals
        To remedy the local commercial feed supply situation
Mr. Hamilton and his assistant agent spent 68 days last year helping to make this dairy plan work and the local neighborhood leaders gave them 43 days of their valuable time.
Here’s what happened:
        Nine purebred bulls were placed in areas where most needed
        Twelve new purebred Guernsey herds were started
        A cooperative, farmer-owned feed store was organized and did $34,000 worth of business from April 10 to December 31
        Six bulls and six heifers were bought by Watauga farmers in the second annual purebred Guernsey sale held at Boone
        Eleven purebred Ayrshire females were bought by Watauga farmers at a sale held at Boone
        Watauga milk producers sold $147,852.47 worth of milk to the receiving station at Sugar Grove
        There were 100 more farmers selling milk in 1943 than in 1942
        Good progress was made in better feeding methods
        Three men built trench and box-type silos
        Two Grade “A” dairies were established
        More Watauga farmers showed a higher income in 1943 over 1942 by reason of selling whole milk
Five good results have come from all of this. Mr. Hamilton lists them as follows:
        A year-round income is helping Watauga farmers to keep up with their bills and is making rural home life much happier
        Dairying is causing a more diversified system of farming and is helping the farmers to distribute better their labor over the year
        Fertility of the soil is being increased through the constant application of manure
        More boys and girls are becoming definitely interested in the farm because of the dairy farming and will more likely remain on the land in after years
        Farms of the county have advanced in price due largely to the dairy work that has been started
Hamilton believes that the results secured by these crusading Watauga farmers are well worth all the time which he and his associates spent with them in bringing about this dairy progress. The effort to increase the supply of purebred foundation stock will be continued in 1944.

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