Breakfast highlights ag center accomplishmentsPublished 9:53pm Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Commissioners questioned on ag center’s future
A crowd congregated at the 4H Center in Columbus early on March 27 for the monthly Friends of Ag breakfast. Those in attendance were eager to sink teeth into local fare and discover information about future plans for the Mill Spring Agricultural Center.
Agricultural development director Lynn Sprague said staff and volunteers have accomplished much since December 2009 when they began renovating the former Mill Spring school building.
“Polk County put its foot forward and established the office of agricultural development. (Now) people want to find out what we did – how we were successful, how we engaged the community, what we did to advance agriculture economically,” Sprague said. “When we go out to other workshops and events, it’s neat to hear, “like they do in Polk.”
Farmer Lee Mink echoed sentiments heard from people outside Polk County about the center and work done locally to benefit agriculture.
“The ag center has become Polk County’s identity; it has done more to build community than anything else in Polk County,” Mink said. “I don’t think there is anything that is going to do more to affect the economy of Polk County.”
Sprague said with some farmers he’s just had to give them an at-a-boy and encourage them to get back in the market but others have needed “all night kitchen-table talks” teaching them business development tools and marketing strategies.
The ag center has also been the center for Mountain Bizworks courses, farmer networking, beginning farmer mentoring programs, assistance for families trying to start their own gardens and more.