Farming is an Adams Family Tradition
Tracy Adams grew up on the family farm with her brother Clint and their parents Eddie and Sandra Voils. When Tracy married Chris Adams 24 years ago, they joined in on the family farming operation. For many years now, Clint and Chris have worked together to get the family farm to where it is today; a farm that produces about 4,000 acres of soybeans, wheat and corn. Sandra takes care of the administrative tasks of the family business.
Tracy has been teaching in the Russell County School District for 23 years and is currently serving as the Gifted/Talented teacher. Chris returned to full-time farming recently after working for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, so with both having more time to pursue the family business, Tracy and Chris recently added a seasonal high tunnel that is producing a plentiful supply of strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes and peppers.
The Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative is part of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). Sandra Voils (Tracy's mother) serves on the Russell County Conservation District Board of Supervisors so she was aware of the initiative. The family attended a field day in the summer of 2012 that showcased a Seasonal High Tunnel that was used to grow tomatoes. (Read that story here.) After more research and assistance from Jason Miller and Kenny Hammond with NRCS, as well as Jennifer Hardwick from the Russell County Conservation District, these first time EQIP participants applied and were approved for the program. The Adams family selected the best location for the seasonal high tunnel and installation began in the fall of 2012.
Chris and Tracy did extensive research on strawberries and red raspberries and decided they would focus on these fruits for the high tunnel’s first year. They sent soil samples to the UK Cooperative Extension Office and when the results arrived, they added the necessary fertilizer for optimal berry production. Chris also installed drip irrigation. In March of this year the plants arrived from Massachusetts and the family planted them in the seasonal high tunnel. The Adams also planted a row of wildflowers next to the high tunnel to attract pollinators to help the plants in the garden to flourish.
“I have been impressed by the results. I have berries this first year and I wasn't expecting to have much of a crop, if any, until the second year.” Tracy said. Local buyers who have heard about the delicious berries have given their phone number to Tracy. When the berries are ready, the buyers get a phone call and the Adams pick and deliver them or have them ready for pick-up the very same day. “I like my produce fresh and we pick the day we sell them, that way the berries are at the freshest possible condition, which is important to me," Tracy added.
Chris and Tracy have two daughters, Ashley (20) and Abigail (17), who also work on the family farm. Tracy said, “Ashley planted some peppers in the tunnel that are doing well too so we hope to expand to more fruits and vegetables in the next few years.” Tracy also raises herbs in an herb garden Chris built for her. She said, “It changes the way everything tastes when the seasonings are fresh.” Thanks to the seasonal high tunnel, her new morning staple has become Greek yogurt with fresh raspberries. Tracy added, “It is rewarding to go pick your breakfast fresh, it is a great way to start the day!”
Chris and Tracy are both excited about the future of the family farm and they are happy that they took advantage of the opportunity with the NRCS Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative. Tracy concluded, “It has been a rewarding and great experience and the people from NRCS and the local conservation district office have been great to work with and answer our many questions. We hope to have the farm for many generations to come! After all it is a family tradition.”
For more information about the EQIP Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative, visit our website at www.ky.nrcs.usda.govor contact your local Conservation District or NRCS office at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?agency=nrcs.