CLINTON — After weeks of waiting, the Granit Training Group’s Farm School on Wheels project finally reached its big grand opening day on Wednesday.
Program founder Roxanne Reed brought her family with her to the Farmers Market in Clinton, arriving on the unmistakable Farm School RV that’s covered with pictures of farm life from around Sampson County. Her friends and partners were already waiting for them on scene to share and celebrate the moment with a ribbon cutting.
“We are so excited to be here today and we are just beside ourselves to be honored by our friends at the Chamber and our resource partners that make life better and better for farmers,” said Reed. “While we are a curriculum development and training company, what we want to achieve with Farm School on Wheels is to help teach farmers the business basics so that they can be successful in obtaining access to capital.”
Reed then went on to share the reasons why having access to capital is so important to farmers and thanked her partners.
“They could have a great business plan, have all of their projections worked through, but they will need to know how to actually go through the process of obtaining the capital they need to be successful,” Reed offered.
“So, that is one of our main specialities and we are going all throughout North Carolina,” Reed added. “I will tell you that we never work alone. We are a tiny piece of the puzzle of success for farmers. We could not do this without all of friends and where would we be without each other, so thank you guys.”
Reed shared this final tidbit about what they aim to achieve with the mobile school.
“We are here to function and provide support in training,” Reed said. “But, what’s also cool about our mobile unit is that we can work independently with our resource partners and clients to help them put together a good farm plan and help bring it into action through access to capital.”
Some of those partners that Reed mentioned include NC Cooperative Extension, Sampson County Agritourism, Cape Fear Farmers Credit, Sampson Chamber of Commerce and Air Probe LLC, which flies drone for commercial and public operations. These are just a few that will help Farm School on Wheels grow.
“It is such a pleasure to be here with Roxanne and we proudly support farmers, said Willa Roseboro of the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce. “We are so glad to be here and I can’t wait to tour your school and this is just awesome.”
“We are so excited to be partners with Farm School on Wheels,” said Eileen Coite, extension agent with the NC Cooperative Extension in Sampson. “We provide the technical support to the training program so we have the resource to teach farmers, for example, about animals, gardening or field crops. So, while Roxanne and her team brings the economic side, we help with the ag. We are very fortunate to be a part of this and we are looking forward for what’s to come.”
“A lot of people say to me why are you in tourism and what is there to see in Sampson County. Well there’s lots and lots to see and agritourism is definitely something that the tourism office is backing and is behind,” said Sheila Barefoot, executive director of the Sampson County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I’m excited to be here and we support farms and we do support ag and what you guys are doing is awesome.”
Two more of Reed’s partners offered comments at this week’s grand opening.
“At Cape Fear Farm Credit we make loans to farmers, rural homeowners, land owners and ag related businesses,” said Branch Manager Mike Carter. “We can’t wait to makes some loans to these folks that you are going to school up. Hopefully you’ll send us some young beginning and small business farmers.”
“I’m very thankful for what Roxanne is doing by helping to bring the business and technology sides of farming together,” said retired military pilot and Air Probe President/CEO Probyn Thompson ΙΙΙ.
“This way, we are farming in the 21st century and not like a 100 years ago, because the reality is that we are going to have to feed the world,” he continued. “We are looking forward to working with all of you and being able to show and introduce this technology to more people, especially to kids at a young age to show them that they can do this technology thing.”
Reed said she is looking forward to having the Farm School on Wheels out and about, and invited the public to honk and inquire about the program.
“Don’t be shy — we feel like family and we truly feel like everyone is family to us,” Reed said. “So, if you ever see us driving around honk, pull us over and stop and grab a Diet Coke with us here and there, because that’s just how we are.”
To find out more about Granit Training Group, Farm School on Wheels or their many partners, Reed can be reached by email at [email protected] or at 910-340-0364.
Reach Michael B. Hardison at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.