Seasoned farmer Danny Daniels prompted Long Creek Community Development Club members to “get ready for the farming season” during a presentation at the club's February meeting.
Daniels has farmed for a profit on his family’s land in the Long Creek Community since 2007. However, he actually was raised in farming, starting out in the fields as a small child with his daddy and granddaddy, picking produce for the family’s consumption. And while he often thinks about those days of long ago, Daniels said he now farms for a different reason.
“Farming keeps me out of a wheelchair,” he said.
Daniels was diagnosed with a rare bone disease about 12 years ago. After five major surgeries, a year in a wheelchair and a year on crutches, he farms to stay healthy and to provide healthy produce for his customers.
He, and his son, David, have raised a variety of tomatoes and squash from seeds. This year, they plan to expand the crops with egg plants and snap beans.
“I really enjoy doing it,” Daniels said.
He currently has 245 tomato seedlings in his house – a type of greenhouse. His fields includes a high tunnel, which allows crops to grow from six-eight weeks earlier in the spring and from six-eight weeks later in the fall, depending on what is planted. There is no heating or cooling system in the high tunnel, though an irrigation system provides the right amount of water and fertilizer. Also, the high tunnel helps prevent frost and controls insects.
Daniels received the high tunnel through a Cost Share Program from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). He explained that the USDA has provided most of the funding for the "house" and, therefore, has monitored the success of his crops for the last four years.
“It’s a four-year government experiment,” he explained.
Daniels said the USDA wants to help small farmers raise produce in order for their neighbors to be able to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables,
"The USDA wants you to know your farmer, and to know that your food is fresh," he said
Daniels said he appreciates all the business during the farming season. His profits help him purchase more seeds and fertilizer.
“People come back and ask for more,” he said.
For more information on the USDA’s Cost Share Program, call Kelvin Jackson at (601) 483-4100 Ext. 3, or visit the office at 1030 Highway 19 South.
Attendance to Long Creek CDC meetings is to open residents of to the Long Creek Community. The next club meeting is March 11 at 6 p.m. at the clubhouse, located at 4892 Zero Road. At the meeting, Gale Dearman will discuss her recent mission trip to Costa Rica, as well as show memorabilia.
• Submitted by Jill R. Walsh.