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Ag Expo reminds us of our past, looks to future

July 22, 2013

For decades now, many of us have bought into the conventional wisdom that agriculture was a dying industry in Washington County. Heavy industry dominated the second half of the last century, and those who look to the future often as not point out the possibilities of services and technology.

Worse, economic realities have driven a number of farms out of operation and seen the land sold for building lots.

But as Ag Expo continues in Washington County this week, it’s a good time to give agriculture a new look — and come out to support the young people who continue to carry the torch of country living.

In a recent economic-development blueprint, outside consultants recognized the value of our agricultural assets. The report recommended an organized network of farmers markets, wine tours and tapping into the heightened awareness of local foods.

Indeed, we are blessed with a number of farms that offer fresh local vegetables, meat, cheese and wine to anyone willing to take a little time to seek it out.

Those wanting to get reacquainted with agriculture, or show the kids where food comes from, would do well to pencil in a little time this week to visit the Ag Expo at the agricultural education center south of Hagerstown on Md. 65.

Along with animals, vegetable exhibits and entertainment, fairgoers will witness a group of young people who are now, and will continue to be, the backbone of the county.

It is difficult to convey the amount of work, dedication and discipline that it takes to raise and show animals.

As we listen to reports of youngsters today who get so little sunshine that they have Vitamin D deficiencies, it is good to recognize one group of kids with superior work ethics and a love for the outdoors.

This week will offer the opportunity to show these budding farmers that we appreciate the work they do and that we appreciate them for seeing agriculture through from one generation to another. It is a pursuit, we believe, that will increasingly be worthwhile for farmers, for people who depend on farmers for their food and for the economic future of Washington County.


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