Group organizing tour of Owen’s agricultural history

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By Molly Haines

With plans for a new barn mural, a tobacco heritage trail tour and a new booklet featuring Owen County farmers, the Agriculture Heritage Trail committee is looking forward to a busy fall season.
The AHT committee will host an Owen County Heritage Trail farm tour Oct. 8. The committee is hoping to garner some out-of-town interest with the tour.
Registration for the tour is $45, which includes transportation, lunch, snacks, information packet and souvenir.
The tour will depart in vans from the Owen County Fairgrounds at 10 a.m. Coffee, hot apple cider and donuts will be served at the 9 a.m. registration.
Visitors will tour a historic peg barn; the working farms of Forsee Southdown Sheep and Hazelfield Farm; and a historic press barn built in the 1870s.
A lunch made by the Owen County Homemakers will be served while local musicians John Harrod and Ron Devore entertain. Local artisans will showcase their arts and crafts for the visitors during lunch.
“We’re marketing this tour to folks who live outside the county to showcase our county’s natural beauty and agricultural history,” AHT committee member Joy Morgan said. “But if local folks want to attend, we’ll be glad to have them also.”
The tour requires moderate walking and space is limited. Registrations must be received by Sept. 30. Registration brochures will be available Sept. 17 at the committee’s Sweet Owen Day booth. Those interested can also register at www.kycrossroadsregion.com or www.ces.ca.uky.edu/owen, or by calling (502) 484-5703.
The committee recently received a grant from Itron to assist in painting a third barn mural on the Tobacco Heritage Trail.
The committee has contracted with Carla Canonera Phillips, a muralist in Frankfort, to paint the third mural. It will be on a barn belonging to Johnny and Pat Craigmyle on U.S. Hwy. 127 N.
“The subject of this mural is tobacco setting,” Morgan said. “It showcases the history of setting tobacco from setting by the season through the use of a tractor and setter.”
The mural will measure 10 feet tall and 60 feet wide.
The committee is hoping the mural will be completed by October.
The committee recently developed a booklet titled “Farm Memories in Owen County, Kentucky.” The book contains a sampling of the more than 30 hours of recordings from interviews the committee conducted of farm families in 2009-2010.
The committee interviewed 34 men and women ranging in age from early 40s to late 80s. Morgan said the booklet also contains pictures and poems about farm life.
“The booklets are available to the public,” Morgan said. “All we ask is for a $3-donation that goes toward the cost of painting future barn murals.”