It started in 2004 on Brent Pursifull’s Hwy. 119 Farm in Bell County but soon outgrew the limited space.
For the last four years, the Bell County Farm Field Day has been hosted by the Bell County Agriculture Council at the Bell County Fair Grounds at the junction of Hwy. 92 and 25-E at Fourmile.
Under the shelter at the Fair Grounds on Farm Field Day, you’ll see every imaginable sight: Horses, pigs (both squealing and non-squealing), goats, sheep, chickens, 4-H exhibits from State Fair, the Bell County 4-H Puppet Troupe (a new addition), hog butchering, demonstrations, vendors, an auction and much more.
Over the years, there have been deer processing demonstrations, canning demonstrations, kids painting pumpkins, Kate the cow, mule pulling, working dog demonstrations, exhibitors of local honey, fur bearers, ginseng, a tree felling contest and this year’s big thrill was to see a scurry of youngsters racing to catch a greased pig. However, one thing has remained the same: Trash Can Cooking.
The day before the opening of Bell County Farm Field Day, Bell County Cooperative Extension Service agents and staff converge on 20 dozen ears of corn, 100 pounds of potatoes, 20 large heads of cabbage, 20 large green peppers, 20 large onions, 40 large sweet potatoes, 120 pounds of sausage and 40 pounds of carrots. This mass of food is scrubbed, washed, peeled, scraped, chopped, sliced and diced. This is all separated into four trashcans and then Gail and Johnnie Brock, along with a team of great helpers, perform their Trash Can Cooking magic, resulting in a meal for over 500 happy Field Day participants. Not to mention 300 hotdogs that Staff Assistant Betty Haley gets started on at 4 a.m.
Bell County Agriculture Agent Stacy White works with the other Bell County Cooperative Extension Service Agents and Staff and the Bell County Agriculture Advancement Council to coordinate the Annual Bell CountyFarm Field Day, with the help of many, many supporters in the Bell County community. This includes the Bell County Conservation District, Farm Bureau, 4-H, Bell County FCCLA and FFA, the Fiscal Court and Road Department, the Fair Board, John and Barbara Brock, Johnnie Brock, Brooks Durham Funeral Home, Sheriff Bruce Bennett, Charles Evans, Luther’s Silk Design, Scott Madon, Hillside Market, Ky. Division of Forestry, Ky. Home Place (Brenda Harris), Teresa Miracle, Papa John’s Pizza, Performance Battery, Josh Peters, Marvin Posey, Pursifull Farm, 119 Carpet, Tim Rader, Robbins Recycling, Sizemore’s Hardware, Brandon Spade, State Farm Insurance (Justin Mays), and The Wood Shop.
“I really appreciate my Ag Council members and the hard work that they’ve put into this event over the years to make it what it is and what it will be. This has grown from 125 participants in the beginning to well over 500 this year,” White said.
This year’s exhibitors included: Air-Evac, Bell County Agriculture Advancement Council, Bell County 4-H State Fair Exhibits, Bell County 4-H Livestock Club, Bell County EMS, Bell County Farm Bureau, Bell County High School FCCLA, Bell County High School FFA, Bell County Sheriff’s Department, Jack Campbell, Rick Cornett, Cumberland Gap Shiitakes, Cumberland River Academy, Carroll Gibbons, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, Lonnie Maiden Jr., Colson Napier, Trophy Mounts, United Trappers of Kentucky and John Young. Eddie Caldwell demonstrated hog processing, Carroll Gibbons demonstrated souse meat preparation, Media Gibbons demonstrated lye soap preparation, Jack Campbell demonstrated how to make hominy and Chuckie Napier, Ralph Mason and John Young demonstrated archery.
Children enjoyed two showings of “Give me 5 (fruits and vegetables) a Day” and “The Farmer in the Dell” by the Bell County 4-H Puppet Troupe. The demonstrations were followed by a “greased pig contest”, the “Kiss the Pig Auction” and finally, there was the Trash Can Lunch.
Students pooled their money and won the highest bid in the “Kiss the Pig Auction” to see Bell County High School Teacher Tamara Miller kiss a pig.
White says that Bell County Farm Field Day is truly an event for the community, by the community.
“Our community members and leaders have invested in this event. They support it and are involved in it,” he stated.
Students from Bell County High School, Knox Central High School and Frakes School Center attended the event, as well as several homeschool families from around the region.
“One of the greatest ways this benefits our community is by giving our kids a first-hand idea of what agriculture is and allows them to see the opportunities available to them in agriculture,” added White.
For more information about the Bell County Cooperative Extension Service, the Bell County Agriculture Advancement Council, or to get involved, contact Bell County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources Stacy White at 606-337-2376.