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Liz Jackson

Liz Jackson

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Rolling Road Show With Rahal Miller Nissan and P.I.N.K. Cares Hits Chipley

P.I.N.K. Cares is up and running keeping the public up to date on their community projects. Wal-Mart in Chipley was the place to be last Saturday if you wanted to learn a little more about what the P.I.N.K. Cares has going on. “Connie” the pink fire truck along with a newly remodeled pink Nissan car was on hand for the event. The Nissan was donated by Rahal - Miller Nissan. Raffle tickets are being sold at events and by the P.I.N.K. Cares queens. The car will be given away at the Marianna Christmas parade in December. All funds from the tickets will assist cancer patients that live in Jackson County. For more information about the P.I.N.K. Cares program or to purchase raffle tickets call Lori at (850) 573-0229.

John Hill Family Named Farm Bureau Outstanding Farm Family of Year

Tuesday evening nearly 350 Farm Bureau members packed the Jackson County Agricultural Conference Center on Pennsylvania Avenue for the annual Jackson County Farm Bureau (JCFB) Membership meeting. Jeff Pittman President of JCFB welcomed everyone and recognized elected officials and special guests. Jeff Crawford JCFB secretary and Hank Floyd JCFB Vice President conducted the formal business of the evening.

Doug Mayo our Jackson County Extension Agent had the honor of introducing 2014 Jackson County Outstanding Farm Family – John Hill Family to members. The following is Mayo’s introduction:

Three generations of family work together under the name of Hill and Hill Cattle Company. John (B.) Hill and his fiancé Melanie Baggett, his mother Joann, and his sister Olivia, and her three children: Hayley, Ben and Claire work together as a family to farm in the Simsville Community.

The farm got its start when John (P.) Hill and Joann started a farming operation in 1970 with the purchase of 30 acres in the Rocky Creek Community raising yearling cattle. A year later they had their son John and a few years later along came Olivia. In 1988 they sold the original 30 acres, which provided the equity to purchase the first 160 acres of land they still farm. With the additional land, John started a cow-calf operation and also started raising peanuts. Next they purchased 30 head of registered Angus heifers from the Thompson Brothers Farm and started building a top notch herd of purebred cattle. Tragically John was killed in a car accident in 1996. At 25 years old, the young man who had learned the farming business from his father suddenly had to take over the management of the farm.

John (B.) Hill, aka Johnny, or “Wugga”, as his father dubbed him, has spent the past 18 years honing his skills at ranching and farming. To do that he has stuck to growing the three things he can do well: cattle, peanuts and hay. He now farms a combination of land that he owns, as well as renting what was the Pete Sims Farm, now owned by his sons Mike, Alec and Danny Sims.

John has built his herd up to 330 head of purebred and commercial cattle. From his father’s original base Angus herd, John has developed 125 head of quality registered females, and is in the process of developing a herd of SimAngus (registered crosses of Simmental and Angus). He has a unique system for marketing his cattle. His heifers are sold to Champion Hill Angus for use a recipient cows in their embryo transfer operation. His purebred bulls are sold after weaning to be developed and resold as commercial herd sires. His steers are vaccinated, weaned and fed for 45 days before being sold through the Alabama SAFE Board Sale in Dothan. John has worked to create a consistent market outlet where his cattle bring top dollar every year.

Peanuts were also a farming craft John learned from his father. Cattle ranching and peanut farming work well together. None of the farm is irrigated, so John, like his father before him, has relied on one of the best known farming practices to ensure consistent success, crop rotation. He grazes a pasture for five years and then rotates with a year of peanuts. The long grass rotation prevents nematode and disease problems that can limit the yield and quality of peanuts. The grasses help to build up organic matter, and the peanuts leave nitrogen for the grass crops that follow. After the peanuts are harvested, John uses these fields to plant annual winter forages, which provide excellent grazing to annually boost the productivity of his herd. Once the winter pasture plays out, he plants bahiagrass, which remains until it is time for peanut planting once again. His reputation as a top notch peanut farmer helped him secure a contract with Golden Peanut to produce their “seed peanuts”, which the company then sells to other farmers for use in peanut planting. In 2012, with ideal weather, John’s whole farm peanut average yield was 6,280 pounds per acre. Even last year, with all of the excessive rain, he was still able to average 5500 pounds per acre on all of his peanut fields.

Perhaps what John has become most known for in Jackson County is his eye for cattle selection. He has a special talent for picking the type of cattle that are structurally sound, functional and productive. Many ranchers rely on his keen eye and skill to help them select their breeding stock for their herds. When asked about this special talent John said, “Being born into it (the cattle business) helps.” Cattle ranching is the only life he has known. John grew up helping his father care for cattle every day. As a teenager, he spent a few summers working for his Uncle, Paul Hill, a world renowned Angus breeder in Ohio, who owns Champion Hill Angus. While he is known for growing quality peanuts, his reputation as a “Cowman’s cowman” has made him a true asset and friend to the ranchers of Jackson County.

Please join me in congratulating the family of John Hill, of Hill and Hill Cattle Company. The 2014 Jackson County Outstanding Farm Family.

Jackson County Farm Bureau President Jeff Pittman again took the podium to announce the winners of the Annual McMullian Scholarship. This year’s recipients were Ashton McMullian and Mary Katherine Pittman.

Alan Scheffer of Farm Bureau oversees the Jackson County Farm Bureau FFA Leadership program. This is an educational program with FFA members that exposes them to different types of agriculture in Florida. Marianna FFA member Gerri Hardin updated the members on the program and what she and others learned while visiting different farms throughout the state.

Everyone enjoyed an evening filled with great food, good laughs and a time of fellowship. Farm Bureau recognized FFA members from the Malone and Marianna FFA Chapters who were on hand to serve the meal for the evening.

Jackson County Getting Chilled by the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ for ALS

Social media has helped amyotrophic lateral sclerosis(ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease raise awareness over the past three to four weeks. This all started when the story of Pete Frates a 29-year-old former college baseball player who can no longer speak - hit the net. With social media the “Ice Bucket Challenge” is on fire for the ALS raising awareness and raising money for research for this dreaded disease. Dignitaries from former George W Bush to CBS newscaster Bob Schieffer to musicians Taylor Swift and Garth Brooks have stepped up and taken the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge.’

There are approximately some thirty thousand Americans who have been diagnosed with the disease. With ALS one’s mind remains sharp however their nerve cells are attacked and leads to total paralysis. Most patients with the disease usually only live between two and five years once they are diagnosed.

From early June through August 25th approximately 2.2 million people have posted their “Ice Bucket Challenge” on the popular Facebook social media site. Twitter has topped over the three million mark with people making reference to it. The ALS Association has had a huge jump in donations. In the three weeks since the rise in donations people have sent in over fifteen million dollars to the ALS Association and in 2013 during that same period only one and a half million was received. There have been over three hundred thousand new donors so far. Corporations along with celebrities and just plain working people and kids continue to support the cause and the numbers continue to rise.

Last Thursday the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ hit the Grand Ridge and Sneads area as local students challenged each other to step up and take the challenge. Turner Gainer a Freshman at Sneads High School accepted the challenge from team mate Locke Photo and quickly sent the challenge on to other team mates, family and friends.

On Friday afternoon the Jackson County Courthouse steps was the place to be as the challenges continued. Employees from the Clerk of the Courts office took the challenge that started with Julie Melvin putting her boss Dale Rabon Guthrie in the hot seat. Guthrie accepted and soon nine other employees were taking on the challenge. First Guthrie took center stage in a frog suite complete with snorkel and fins. She was seated in front of the crowd and doused with a bucket of cash?? Guthrie then explained the money, over $350 was raised during the day from those not wishing to get wet. She then unsuited from the rubber suite and took her place alongside the other nine employees and the drenching began. Employees Dale Rabon Guthrie, C.J. Jones, Dawn Williams, Tempera Watson, Debbie Reed, Jennifer Barrentine, Shirley Barfoot and Tabitha Pumphrey where chilled by other employees with big red Tractor Supply buckets of ice water.

On Saturday morning over twenty employees of Zaxby’s Restaurant in Marianna gathered in the parking lot to take the ALS challenge. Employees stood under a full size front end loader filled with ice water in much anticipation of the chilling event. Zaxby’s owner / operator Claire Grigsby accepted the challenge herself and some employees soon followed suite. When making the official Zaxby’s challenge Claire named several other Zaxby’s locations and the challenge was on. Slowly tractor operator Charles Reiff began to help them complete the challenge by slowly tilting the bucket on the front end loader allowing the employees to enjoy a “chillin” soak. Zaxby’s collected over $310 for ALS and management will be adding to that number and forwarding the money to the ALS Association.

Jackson County, Florida always steps up to do their part in helping others. Whether it be collecting canned food for the hungry, water for fire fighters, supplies for hurricane/tornado victims or just cleaning the yard for a hospice patient who is unable to do it themselves, we as “Jackson County Folks” always lend a helping hand.

July 4th Fireworks: A Popular Family Event

Independence Day is always a time for fireworks. As times have changed the fireworks displays have gotten bigger, brighter and louder. Friday evening the crowds began lining the streets, parking lots, courthouse square, front yards, back yards and Madison Park for the Annual July 4th fireworks display in Marianna. There were children of all ages, and adults of all ages as well, getting ready for the festivities. Madison Park was hopping with excitement as the bands played, vendors sold their wares and an area church gave away ice cold water to everyone waiting for the fun to begin.

I had the opportunity to observe many families enjoying the event together. One particular family had around 25 members gathered around to watch the fireworks. The matriarch of this wonderful family was Ms. Mattie Lee Bush. You might think “why is she so special”? Ms. Mattie is a mere 99 years young and still enjoys fireworks on the 4th of July. One might call Ms. Mattie a “FIRECRACKER” herself. She was there with her children, grandchildren and even some of her great grandchildren to enjoy the evening’s festivities. Her family has an annual tradition of enjoying a cook-out at lunch on Independence Day and then venturing out in search of the perfect fireworks display. In years past the family has traveled to Alabama but this year decided to give the Madison Street Park fireworks a try. Everyone enjoyed it so much that they plan on returning for many years to come.

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