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|Community gathers to salute parish farmers|
The annual Salute to Franklin Parish Farmers was hosted by the Winnsboro-Franklin Chamber of Commerce and held at the First Baptist Church of Winnsboro on Tuesday evening. Organizers rescheduled the event due to the storms that swept through the parish in September.
"We were extremely pleased at the turnout for this event," said Craig Gill, chamber member and chairperson of the event. "With the help of business and individual contributors, this event gets better every year."
Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Dr. Mike Strain was on hand to discuss recovery efforts headed by his department during and proceeding Hurricane Gustav. Strain also discussed upcoming issues for farmers throughout the state on the local and federal level.
The parish's first bale of cotton was harvested by the McLemore family and auctioned off by Bubba Smith. The 590 lb. bale sold to Jerry Johnston, cotton buyer, for $16.25 per pound, breaking a 35 year record of $16 per pound.
Guests enjoyed a farm-raised catfish dinner with all the trimmings and live entertainment by Gene Thompson and Craig Gill. The youth members of First Baptist Church assisted with the food service.
Many prizes were awarded to farmers with red tickets in a lottery-style drawing. Door prizes were donated by individuals and local merchants and ranged from gift certificates to propane grills and everything in between.
"We come to this event every year," said Mary Pat Bryan of Winnsboro. "The food is always so delicious and even though we are retired educators, we were also farmers too."
Franklin Parish Farm Bureau was the major sponsor for this year's event. Co-sponsors were, Entergy, Franklin Cotton Warehouse, Franklin State Bank and Trust Company, Helena Farm Chemicals and Scott Tractor Company – Rayville.
Contributions to first bale of cotton were, Broadway & Hitt Co., Ellington Cotton Co., Farmers Cotton Co., Johnston Cotton, Co., Federal Land Bank, First South Farm Credit, Franklin State Bank, Progressive Bank, Citizens Progressive Bank, Winnsboro State Bank and Winnsboro-Franklin Parish Chamber of Commerce.
"We appreciate everyone coming out and supporting the farmers in our community," said chamber president Kevin Cobb. "They really are the backbone of our economy."