By Riley Cockram and Chloe Coleman--Eagle Staff Writers
Franklin County has always been stereotyped as "redneck nation," but that's a stereotype the high school seems to welcome. Every year, Tractor Day is held to teach the community about agriculture and give students a chance to show off their country spirit. Tractors line up across the parking lot like a museum, students perched on top, sharing their family's farming heritage for all to hear.
Tractor Day has been celebrated here for a decade and some change. COVID paused this annual event for the last two years, but after much waiting and pleading, FFA was able to hold it again with ease.
“I think that since we’ve done it for so long, we just really had to get back in the swing of things. The kids were really excited for it since it had been awhile [since the last Tractor Day], so it ended up not being too difficult to plan everything and get it all together,” explained Kasey Arrington, FFA sponsor and event coordinator.
Long before the high school was even built, farmers have called Franklin County home, and to this day agriculture is a major factor in what keeps this county going, which is why some feel Tractor Day is essential in keeping in touch with the county's roots.
“My dad was a farmer and so believe it or not - nothing this fancy - but I drove tractors when we were working tobacco and gardening. It’s a part of our culture and it brings everybody together I think for a common cause,” shared Dr. Bernice Cobbs, FCPS Superintendent.
While many in the county have experience with agriculture, Tractor Day is an introduction to the world of agriculture for those who would have otherwise never known all the work that goes into farming.
“I think it's important to showcase agriculture, because without agriculture, you wouldn’t be eating, you wouldn’t be clothed, you wouldn’t be doing a lot of things,” commented Jean Capps, another FFA sponsor and event coordinator.
Capps herself owns a tractor and lives on a small farm, but she and Arrington organized this event so students could tell their stories.
“I’ve been driving tractors since I was about eight,” said junior Faith Feazell. "There’s a lot of kids that don’t know much about [tractors]. They need to know about them in case they have to drive one one day.”
Some of the tractors brought to Tractor Day were used by generation after generation, including the one senior Jackson Amos brought.
“They’re both my pop’s tractors but we use this one the most. It’s quite the old one. It’s a 1963 model and it’s a 3010 but it’s got a 3020 engine in it that’s actually fit for a round baler," Amos described. "The previous owners ran it so much when they had the original engine that they wore it out so they put the bigger engine in it and it’s still running good,” he says.
Amos explained that Tractor Day was a lot of fun, but he participated for a bigger reason.
“[Tractor Day] is fun for sure but it’s a big part of Franklin County. A lot of farming is going on, more than you think, and it’s also nice to get to show off our old tractors,” Amos finished.