Local News

Farm Expo Time Is Here

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Mark Lyon
CREEDMOOR — This is the time of year whenmany farmers put on their best jeans and their best cotton shirt and headoff for a farm exposition. Such shows are prime spots for learning aboutthe latest agricultural methods and equipment.

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

A lot of those produce farmers will also go to tobaccoexpos. Mark Lyon, a Granville County farmer has multiple crops going onthe 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 youto stay away from -- tobacco. But he says many produce farmers in thisstate can't have fruit and vegetables without tobacco.

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

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

Economics can be helpful or harmful; farmers can have an extremely goodcrop of vegetables and not make any money. If too much produce comes to market from other states, prices take a dive. With that uncertainty, Lyonsays 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 showsoff the latest technology. Because researchers and corporations alwayshave new ideas, the agricultural situation is always changing.

And if a new idea helps make a better tomato or potato, or a newvariety is introduced to the market, Mark Lyon wantsto 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 moreinformation about the Expo, call 919-772-2204.

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