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Thank a farmer

visit Ag Expo 02

August 09, 2002

If you don't have much occasion to leave Washington County, you just might take the area's natural beauty for granted. But as those who commute to the metropolitan areas can tell you, if there's any open space down there, it's either a crowded county park, or the private lawn of some corporation's headquarters.

It's only when you come west across South Mountain that you routinely see working farms with real livestock in the pastures and crops growing in the fields. There are noises and smells associated with these activities, but compared to what city dwellers face - the roar of thousands of engines and the smell of air pollution - this area is indeed blessed.

Some other day we'll write about how this natural beauty could be preserved, but now we invite all county residents to attend Washington County's annual Ag Expo, held through today at 7 p.m. at the county's agricultural education center, 10 miles south of Hagerstown on Md. 65.

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Not only will visitors see the animals brought to exhibit, they'll also get a chance to see the hard-working farm families whose members rise before the dawn and sometimes don't finish the day's chores until after dark.

Farmers have a tough life by any measure. Their success depends on the weather, and in a year when the harvest is abundant, the prices they get are likely to go down. It costs almost as much for local farmers to produce milk as the price that it brings, even as the charges for equipment and other supplies continue to rise. And then there's the government, always adding new rules that must be obeyed but which don't add a penny to the farm's bottom line.

So consider stopping by today before 7 p.m. The cost for adults is only $2, with children 8 and under free. You'll have a chance to get a closer look at things you may have only seen from the highway. More important, you can meet the people who preserve the views and the open space that this community values. We know they'd appreciate your thanks for all the good things their labor provides.

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