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Tribute to a vanishing breed: the fulltime farmer

Emory Carland on his tractor. [PHOTO BY MARK LEET]

We recently attended a memorial service for our lifelong friend and neighbor, Emory Carland (1935-2022).

Emory was a full-time farmer, an endangered species in Mills River and Henderson County.  A few years ago, another friend and neighbor, Susan Praytor, wrote a tribute to Emory.  This was read at the memorial service, and I am pleased to share it with Lightning readers.

If you travel North Mills River Road you will meet a dedicated farmer on his John Deere tractor.  He rises early to get his day started and doesn’t return to his house until supper time.  He takes his own sweet time to enjoy farm life and hear the hum of the engine. 

I love to meet him on his big tractor as I wonder which field he is working today.  He may have the mower, hay rake, tedder, or corn planter.  I love the spring time when he plows the corn field; the fresh dirt smells so good as I pass by.

When you see him on his International tractor you know he is pulling “Little Auggie” because he doesn’t want that stuff on his big John Deere.

As 11:30 rolls around you can bet your bottom dollar his truck is down at the barn to meet Bob Dermid and head for the Corner Grill for lunch.  Back to work soon after their hot dogs and apple pie.

A soft spoken man, I never heard him raise his voice or get mad, even when someone puts rabbit ears on his hat and he doesn’t know it.  Good sport!

By now I guess you have figured out this country farmer is my friend, Emory Carland, the last of a dying breed.  His son Kevin is following in his footsteps in the hay field.  I’m sure Emory is beaming with pride!  His wife Glenda and daughter Kim are spoiling the cows with treats.  A great farm family.

Thank you Emory for the smell of fresh dirt and the smell of fresh-cut hay at Hattie’s house.  It smells so good I want to roll in it!  Thank you for the joys of country life!

Susan Praytor 2017

When Emory and I were students of John Hollamon in vocational agriculture at Mills River High School, we learned to recite the FFA Creed.  Emory could have been the poster image for the Creed:

I believe in the future of farming, with a faith born not of words but of deeds-in achievements won by past generations of farmers-in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years.

I believe that to live and work on a good farm is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of farm life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny…Journeying On