Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

February 16, 2014

Ham & Egg tradition continues

-- — In 1950, counties throughout Georgia established agricultural shows to promote the produce of black farmers. Numerous ham & egg shows continued through the next few decades as a means for the state’s black farmers to demonstrate the quality of their produce and for businesses to support these efforts.

As years passed, Georgia’s ham & egg shows vanished along with the aging black farm population throughout the state. These ham & egg shows ceased until only one survived.

That one lone show is in Lowndes County. It has been the state’s only ham & egg show for many years now. This week, the tradition continues.

Area farmers open the 64th Annual Ham & Egg Show at the Lowndes County Civic Center. Local farmers’ hams and eggs will be tested and judged. Prizes will be awarded to the best hams, the highest quality eggs. Then, all of the produce will be auctioned to the highest bidder from a pool of mostly local businesses.

Though Lowndes County has the only surviving Ham & Egg Show in Georgia, maintaining the tradition hasn’t been easy. Several years ago, the Lowndes County Ham & Egg Show nearly suffered the same fate as similar events throughout the state — it nearly ended due to the attrition of African-American farms and the aging of black farmers.

Unlike other counties, Lowndes tapped the resources of the region’s young people. Entries from potential farmers in 4-H and other organizations revitalized Lowndes County’s Ham & Egg Show. Instead of slowly vanishing, the Lowndes County Ham & Egg Show has typically grown each year.

Increased interest by a younger generation in the Ham & Egg Show speaks not only to the tradition of the event but to the region’s older tradition of agricultural enterprise. The annual Ham & Egg Show should be supported as should the efforts of the person who makes farming his or her daily trade.

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