Having grown up in rural, northern Florida, Hamilton County Farm Bureau (HCFB) President Damon Deas has always been passionate about agriculture. “I always wanted to farm,” he states. “I believe this is what I was born to do.”
Deas Brothers Farms currently produces tobacco, peanuts, field corn, small grain and cattle in Jennings, approximately 10 miles south of the Florida-Georgia border. Deas has served as the president of HCFB for more than 20 years.
“There are two events that I really like to promote throughout the year,” Deas said. “One of them is the Legislative Dinner.” Every winter, HCFB hosts state and federal elected officials, along with 100-150 members, at the VFW Hall in Jasper. “The dinner is always a great success,” Deas said.
Farm-City Week is another annual event that strengthens the community. “During Farm-City Week, we try to reach every citizen in the county,” Deas stated. “It is important to create these relationships.” HCFB celebrates with a twist on the traditional dinner. “We do Farm-City Week a little bit different,” Deas said. “We host a pancake supper.”
Along with the pancake supper, HCFB hosts a writing contest for fourth graders. The topic of the essay is, “Why is agriculture important to us?” The essays are sent to the Florida Farm Bureau state office where they are read by staff members in the Public Relations Divison. The winning student’s teacher receives $100 to spend on his or her classroom.
Deas Brothers Farms, in conjunction with the Florida Farm Bureau, hosts a two-day cane sugar making event. “It’s like history day out on the farm,” Deas stated. “We host the kindergarteners from the county on one day and the seventh and eighth graders the next.”
“Our field representative comes out and does Ag in the Classroom demonstrations and this year we even had drones,” Deas stated. “We try to improve every year.” More than 200 students visit the farm where they learn day-to-day operations, participate in interactive games and get to experience the past time of cane grinding and syrup making.
Sweet and Sour Pork Chops
-Old Dutch Sweet and Sour dressing
Rub pork chops with a teaspoon of brown sugar and place in baking dish. Cover with dressing and bake at 350 degrees for an hour, covered. Remove cover and bake an additional 15 minutes. Serve with brown rice and turnip greens.
Hamilton County Ag Facts:
- 292 Farms
- 71,884 Acres
- 3,807 Jobs provided
- $531.6 Million in revenue