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Reed Farms honored at agriculture dinner

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FARM FAMILY: Family and friends of Reed Farms watch a video in their honor at the ninth annualSalute to Agriculture Dinnerat Heartland REMC on Tuesday night.
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BROTHERS: Jay Reed (left) and his brother Mike Reed speak at the ninth annual Salute to Agriculture Dinneron Tuesday night.

BY Kaitlin Gebby - kgebby@wabashplaindealer.com

Tuesday night marked the celebration of Wabash County’s ninth farm family, the Reeds, who humbly and tearfully accepted the recognition with gratitude.

On several occasions, Reed Farms was described as the epitome of family farming. Established in 1928 by their great grandfather, the farm has raised animals and grown a series of different crops through the years. Along the way, the Reeds raised a fifth generation farm too. 

The Paper of Wabash County organized a video in honor of Reed Farms that allowed them to tell their story to the tables of farmers and agricultural specialists inside Heartland REMC Tuesday night.

Mike and Jay Reed, brothers who now own the farm, were in disbelief when they were told they would be the centerpiece of the annual Grow Wabash County Salute to Agriculture Dinner. 

Together, they traced back the history of the farm that was passed down to them. They said Reed Farms has carved its way into Wabash history by raising chickens, cattle, popcorn and grain. In order for the 2,200-acre farm to continue, Mike and Jay said they had to make the decision to farm in their early 20s.

“Being a family farm, you want it to go on … and if you want it to go on as a family farm you’ve got to have stuff in place to keep it going,” Mike said.

“We pretty much had to start making the decision when we were 22, 20 years-old or right out of high school. So I guess we’ve kind of grown into that,” Jay said.

Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler, the keynote speaker for the annual dinner, said that around the time the farming industry was introduced to Indiana, one farmer was feeding around 19 people. Over 117 years later, that number has swelled to 165 people fed per farmer. The Reeds said they try their best to be good stewards of their land for the environment and for the people they feed.

“We just try to be good stewards and good neighbors,” Jay said. “If we feel like we mess something up or spray something wrong, we’ll tell them what the situation is. Other than that, we’re just very fortunate to have very good neighbors.”

Mike has passed the torch to his son, Kyle Reed, who has added a hog house to the property to take it into the next generation. With the help of part-time farm hands and long-time friends Chad Howard and Randy Miller, he said they’ll continue their hard work to “feed the future.”