Local News

Farm Expo Time Is Here

Posted November 17, 1997

— This is the time of year when many farmers put on their best jeans and their best cotton shirt and head off for a farm exposition. Such shows are prime spots for learning about the latest agricultural methods and equipment.

For those who grow produce, the Southeast Vegetable and Fruit Expo starts in Greensboro December 15.

A lot of those produce farmers will also go to tobacco expos. Mark Lyon, a Granville County farmer has multiple crops going on the acreage that has been in his family for five generations.

Lyon keeps the farming tradition by planting strawberries, cantaloupe, cabbage, potatoes -- all the stuff your mom always said you should eat.

But Lyon and his wife also grow something your mother probably told you to stay away from -- tobacco. But he says many produce farmers in this state can't have fruit and vegetables without tobacco.

Produce is far more finicky about weather's whims, and farmers can lose substantial investments if temperatures hop about or storms come through. Lyon says the tobacco acts as an insurance policy, because tobacco just about always makes a crop. Produce is far more finicky about weather's whims, and farmers can lose substantial investments if temperatures hop about or storms come through.

Even in a bad year, Lyon says, tobacco will pay off but even in what seems to be a good year for produce, he has learned not to expect too much.

Economics can be helpful or harmful; farmers can have an extremely good crop of vegetables and not make any money. If too much produce comes to market from other states, prices take a dive. With that uncertainty, Lyon says the best thing he can do is grow superior produce.

That's where the expos come in.

The expos provide information that has been developed recently or shows off the latest technology. Because researchers and corporations always have new ideas, the agricultural situation is always changing.

And if a new idea helps make a better tomato or potato, or a new variety is introduced to the market, Mark Lyon wants to know so he and his family can keep square meals on local tables -- yours as well as his own.

The Southeast Vegetable and Fruit Expo runs December 15 - 17 in Greensboro at the Holiday Inn Convention Center. For more information about the Expo, call 919-772-2204.

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