MOUNT VERNON — Between 40 and 50 Knox County farmers gathered at R&M’s Southside Diner Tuesday morning for the first “Farmers’ Breakfast,” sponsored by the Knox County Farm Services Administration, Knox Soil & Water Conservation District, Ohio State University Extension and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
“I’m tickled with the turnout,” said FSA Executive Director Katie Mills. She explained that the breakfast idea came up at a recent meeting of the County Committee, the panel which oversees the FSA office for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Mills said they were looking at ways to improve service to farmers by having these monthly meetings to increase contact and communication with farmers.
“I think the breakfasts can be valuable,” said Extension Agent John Barker. “I hope we can come up with timely topics. I noticed that after the breakfast was over, fellows stayed around and talked. That’s important too.”
Bill Lawhon, a farmer in southeastern Knox County, likes the idea of the breakfasts.
“I think these can be very worthwhile,” he said, explaining that not only can you pick up information from the speakers, “just siting and talking with some of the best farmers in the area is valuable.”
“These are also a good chance to meet new people and to catch up with old friends,” he added.
Joe Cline said he would wait and see how the breakfasts develop because not everyone has the same problems, while Frank Pribonic, sitting at the same table, commented that “any information you can obtain is helpful.”
The initial meeting’s speaker was Bill Haddad, who has spent 43 years in the agriculture field, working with retailers and farmers on the use of chemical fertilizers and weed killers and promoting no-till planting practices.
The main topic of his talk was the control of weeds, especially marestail, in soybean crops.
“Farmers have to have a plan,” he said, and weed control efforts must start early. If the weeds are allowed to get established, farmers won’t be able to get rid of them.
He also touched on a growth-enhancement program that has been showing impressive results.