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Why I Farm: Behind the Movement

Tour Stop #2 - Mark Thomas, Princeton, KY

Published on Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What is it about a southern farmer that just makes them entirely charming? Is it their southern drawl, laid back personality, or how they never make you feel like a stranger? It was the first Saturday in April when I traveled 5 ½ hours south to visit Mark Thomas of Princeton, KY.

I don’t know if I was more excited to do another interview or the fact I got to do the interview in a warmer climate. Either way, I was geared up for the road trip. After two stops (I have a love/hate relationship with coffee) and five hours of driving, I exited the interstate. 

Mark Thomas' farm in Princeton, Ky.

As I headed into the country, I couldn’t help but slow down and take in the picturesque countryside. I should have stopped because as I was admiring what God created, I passed the driveway to Mark’s farm. Dotted with red barns, Mark’s farm is located in a gorgeous valley with rolling green pastures. I drove down the long, gravel driveway and could see a tractor in the distance. I knew Mark would be in the field that afternoon and I was eager to capture his story from the cab of a tractor. 

Coming from a farm, I know how important it is to take advantage of good weather. As I walked through the field, Mark parked the tractor and turned off the engine. Before I could say anything, Mark said he needed a break and the work could wait.

We sat down in the shop and started from the beginning. How his family used to raise hogs until the late 1980s. How they survived the drought in 1983. And how they’ve kept the family farm going. Now, they raise 2,600 acres of row crops and 60 acres of tobacco.

Mark talked of memories as a young boy, from playing in the mud to falling asleep in the combine. But it wasn’t his memories on the farm I enjoyed most. It was hearing him talk about his hero. 

At an early age, Mark followed his dad everywhere. From the barn to the field and the field to the barn. To Mark, he learned everything he knows from his dad – how to be a steward of the land and that an honest day’s work comes from an honest day’s pay. 

A serious discussion between father and son.

Even at 76 years old, Mark’s dad still helps out on the farm. And when it’s busy, Mark joked that his dad wants to be in the middle of everything. Funny how roles are reversed as time passes on. In his father’s eyes, Mark is a better farmer, but if you ask Mark, he says learned from the best. 

We talked for nearly 45 minutes, with me hanging on to his every word. Farming isn't just Mark’s life, it’s his passion. But Mark says it best in the video below.

But I’ll warn you, have a tissue in hand. Because it wasn't during the interview that I got emotional or when I saw Mark’s video for the first time. It was when I played the video for my family, with my dad sitting close by. I could feel my chest tighten and the tears forming, but before I could tell myself don’t do it, I glanced over at dad. 
Memories of tractor rides, county fairs, Christmas mornings, horse shows, graduations and my wedding day flashed through my mind. There was no turning back now. The tears were alive and I dared not look back again. 

Okay, so now that you’re prepared and hopefully have a box of tissues, hit play.

Why I Farm: Mark Thomas from Becks Hybrids on Vimeo.

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Author: Ashley Fischer

Categories: Why I Farm


Ashley Fischer
Ashley Fischer>

Ashley Fischer

Marketing Communications Manager at Beck's.

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