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Farmers' fanfare
Welcome Center display celebrates Ag Week

COVINGTON - Local farmers are in the spotlight this week at the Covington/Newton County Regional Visitor Information Center, where information about their goods and services are on display in celebration of Georgia Agriculture Awareness Week, which runs from Sunday to March 21.

Nine local farms or farming/agriculture organizations are participating in the exhibit, showcasing everything from wine to strawberries to sausage.

"The main thing I wanted to accomplish by having the exhibit is to make Newton County citizens aware of the impact agriculture has on our local economy and spotlight some of our local farms," Tourism Director Clara Deemer said. "The size of Newton County lends itself to farming and other green eco-friendly businesses. We hope to expand our exhibit next year and involve as many agriculture-related entrepreneurs as possible."

In addition to having their products on display, some farmers have included a history of their farms and information about special events they host throughout the year.

Andy and Hilda Byrd of Whippoorwill Hollow Farm have a display that highlights the community-oriented events they host, including an upcoming Earth Day celebration.

They bought their 74-acre farm in 1997 and became certified organic growers in 2002.

They have pick-your-own blueberry bushes and grow apples, pears, muscadines and other fruits along with an assortment of vegetables.

They also have classes on organic farming and nutritional eating.

Hilda Byrd said the exhibit is a good opportunity to inform the community about their many activities.

"I thought it was good because it is Agriculture Awareness Week. There are more farms in Newton County than I was aware of. Even though we're an urban community, we still have a lot of agriculture going on," she said.

Other participants are Johnston Dairy Farm, Alcovy Daylily Farm, Berry Christmas Tree Farm, Mitcham Family Farm, Holifield Farms, Fox Vineyards, Newton County Farm Bureau and the Newton County Extension Office.

Viewing the display is free and it is open to the public through Saturday during regular business hours.

The Visitor Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The Visitor Center is located at 2101 Clark St., at the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce office.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.