BONIFAY – The Holmes County UF/IFAS Extension agency is celebrating their 100th year of service.
Extension Director Shep Eubanks is spreading the word about the notable milestone.
“The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 established the Cooperative Extension Service, a state-by-state national network of land-grant, public universities, whose educators extend research-based knowledge to the people,” said Eubanks. “I think I’ve got the best job ever and I am in awe of the constant strength of our local farmers. These guys just never quit, they are the backbone of our country with less than two percent of the U.S. being farming.”
A large majority of the land in Holmes County is agricultural with 6,000 acres of peanuts, 5,000 acres of cotton, 2,000 acres of soybeans, 1,000 acres of field corn and just under 100 acres of watermelon.
“The challenges we’re facing this spring is the fact that we had over 42 inches of rain in two months alone when the historic rainfall for Holmes County is 54 inches per year,” said Eubanks. “I cannot tell you how many emails I got from farmers who bogged down their tractors in fields that were just saturated from all the rain we’ve had.”
Livestock is another large portion of Holmes County with beef cattle numbers estimated at 8,900 brood cows and 19,700 total cows and calves; dairy cows number 1,224; value of beef cattle estimated at $5 million as of 2012; and value of milk produced is $4.4 million.
Forages is another overlooked commodity in Holmes County, stating that most of those visiting or driving through “only see empty fields of grass” when they more than likely are seeing forages.
Eubanks said Holmes County has around 8,000 acres in forages planted for hay production with a farm gate value of $7.4 million.
He added that of the 308,000 acres in Holmes County, 69 percent is forested, for a total of 210,700 acres with a value of standing timber estimated to be $123 million.
“Now you can say that it may not look it at times but Holmes County is a rich county indeed,” said Eubanks.