Raising the next generation of farmers

Ag Life

Rocky Mount, Va. (WFXR) — It was around this time last year that WFXR News took part in celebrating all that the Franklin County Agricultural Fair has to offer. The station introduced future farmers of America and highlighted the organizations, entertainers, and people that make the event a success.

The agricultural fair like many other large events this year had to be canceled. However, in Franklin and surrounding counties agriculture isn’t celebrated just a few times a year, it’s a way of life… and that’s certainly the case for the Bowman family.

The Bowman family’s farm, Blackwater Bend Dairy Farm is closest to the town of Callaway, Virginia. The farm has mountainous views and gentle creeks running through, but not only is the land beautiful, through hard work and reciprocity, the land has provided resources for the family that has called it home for generations.

Timothy Bowman says his father and grandfather instilled a strong work ethic within him.

“You put into everything you do 100% so that at the end of the day you feel like you’ve accomplished something and that’s real rewarding to see the benefits of my animals doing well on my farm, my crops doing good, and my family flourishing and being happy gives me a lot of pride.”

Timothy Bowman, Owner and Operator of Blackwater Bend Dairy Farm

It’s that same work ethic that Timothy and Monica Bowman hope to impress upon their four children as 5th generation farmers and third generation dairy farmers.

“When it boils down to it we wanted our kids to be able to live a life self sufficiently, that they weren’t dependent upon anybody else; that they could grow their own food, they can raise their own animals, they know how to butcher those animals, that they can practice good animal husbandry.”

Monica Bowman, Farm Bureau Women’s Member, canning judge, and Operator of Blackwater Bend Dairy Farm

At the Bowman household they teach their children that agriculture is the basis of our society and they’re adamant about being stewards of the land.

“We’re only given what God gives us and we’re here to take care of his earth, so I mean those are just things we wanted to instill and that play into agriculture the whole way around… is ya know, producing items that not only help us as a family but help other families.”

Monica Bowman, Farm Bureau Women’s Member, canning judge, and Operator of Blackwater Bend Dairy Farm

The Bowman’s milk is sold to a DFA coop, their corn is used at Twin Creeks Distillery, their flower sold to Gracious Day Grains, and the family produces several crops for their animals. 

Producing these items and raising their animals means waking up at 3:00 a.m. to milk cows for the eldest, Will and chipping in wherever mom and dad need help for the youngest: Della Ruth, Issac, and Eugene.

The Bowman kids are respectful, self-sufficient, and proud of their roots. Issac speaks with so much excitement when replaying precious moments learning to drive a tractor with his Papa Hubbert and Papa Bill. The eldest, Will, without even realizing it has the numbers down to a science when it comes to feeding the dairy cows. Eugene has big plans for his chicken coop that he and his father started, and Della Ruth, a lover of animals, is eager to take on knowledge and knows that means improving every day.

“Every time you do something you get more and more advanced about it so you can do it again next year even better!”

Della Ruth Bowman

Timothy Bowman says that as populations keep growing it’s important that we have people that want to take on the farming business, knowing that it’s truly agricultural education and the next generation that will feed our communities.

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