Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Penningtons Win in "Plant-to-Prosper"

Uncle Jury Pennington is pictured center,
with Roy F. Robinson, left, of the FHA (and a Tremont native)
and Henry Holland, right, county agent

Aunt Bess, right, is showing off a just-finished quilt to one of the committee members
who called at the Pennington home between Cardsville and Peaceful Valley
to tell them of the award

These pictures and an accompanying article appeared in the December 12, 1946 issue of the Itawamba County Times newspaper. For two years in a row, the Jury Pennington family won both the local county competition, as well as placed second in the state, of the "Plant-to-Prosper" competition.

To quote from an article that appeared in the Times on October 31, when the Penningtons won the county competition, "The record of the Penningtons is exemplary: They showed a total income of $3,499.71 for the year from 8 sources, and realized a net profit after all farm expenses were allowed of $1,923.21. This was done on an 80 acre farm with 45 acres in cultivation and 15 acres in pasture. Another must be kept in mind, too - the Penningtons completely lost 12 acres of their corn due to Spring and Summer rains and overflows."

"The Penningtons said in their record book: 'The Plant-to-Prosper has caused us to make improvements that we would not have made which are beneficial. Whether we win a prize or not, we have received enough benefits from our improvements to compensate for our time and trouble.' The Penningtons have two children, Mildred and Bessie, now living at home."

In December, when the newspaper reported the state-wide award, the article indicated that Uncle Jury and Aunt Bess received a cash prize of $75, awarded by the Commercial Appeal newspaper out of Memphis.

The Plant-to-Prosper program was for small farmers throughout the Commercial Appeal's circulation area in the Midsouth. At the time the newspaper initiated program in 1934, during the middle of the Great Depression, there was a huge surplus of cotton which impacted the prices farmers were getting for their cotton crop. Roosevelt's New Deal program was attempting to cut back farmers' cotton production and promote diversification of their crops, and the Commercial Appeal's Plant-to-Prosper campaign fell right in line with the New Deal program.

Several thousand families from across the Midsouth participated in the eighteen-year long campaign by the Memphis newspaper to encourage farmers to develop crop diversification and crop rotation, practice soil conservation, and generally be more productive in their farming practices. The Itawamba County Times, with its owner-editor Delmus Harden, was a supporter of the Plant-to-Prosper program and encouraged local farmers to participate.

Belated congratulations go to Uncle Jury and Aunt Bess for being innovative farmers!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a lovely quilt - I know there is the "flower basket" or "flower garden" so named quilt, but would either be the name of the pattern shown here? It reminds me of a purse handle! And, don't have any idea if a quilt pattern was by that name.

For war times in the early '40's, I recall the county agent or someone representing the federal government coming by my Uncle Lecil Stone's farm juat a few miles east of Tremont and he was discovered to have too much cotton planted and had to plow a certain amount of his cotton field under! (he wasn't the only one, but he was the only family memeber to have to turn the small plants under) and that is when he practically gave up farming and went to Mobile that spring/summer - 1943 - to work in the boat docks building war ships. bettye