Saturday, June 07, 2008

In New Hampshire, a death touches and teaches

New Hampshire is a small state, where it's easy to get known -- and admired, if you do good work. It's also a state where the agriculture commissioner is a former journalist who knows how to tell the stories of the people and issues in the state's diverse agricultural community. The latest "From Your Commissioner" column by Lorraine Merrill, left, in her department's Weekly Market Bulletin is titled "A Time to Reap and A Time To Sow." It begins:
Just two weeks ago we wrote of the joy Arthur and Cathy Scruton were experiencing with the birth of healthy triplet heifer calves at Scruton’s Dairy in Farmington. Over Memorial Day weekend Arthur Scruton was killed in a farm equipment accident. He was 58. The response of the state’s agricultural community demonstrated how deeply this quiet man had touched many individuals and whole families. He and his family have operated one of the state’s top dairy farms, known for their fine herd of
Holsteins. Local farmers and ag service providers offered help to the Scruton family at this peak cropping season. An estimated 500-600 people from every corner of New Hampshire, and at least four other states, lined up for hours to pay their respects to the family and exchange stories and remembrances. A similar- sized crowd turned out the next day for services honoring Art’s memory.
Merrill reminds her readers that farming is among the most dangerous occupations, especially once farmers pass the age of 55. That was the average age for an American farmer the last time it was calculated, in 2002, and it's probably higher now. To read the June 4 issue of the Weekly Market Bulletin, click here. It's long had good journalism; Merrill's predecessor was Steve Taylor, another journalist.

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