John King standing with some of his family.
Left to right: Jack, John (grandson) and farmer John King
Recently, I wrote a post about the original homestead that John King bought in his early twenties. Now in his seventies, Mr King has spent his adult life as an independent farmer. He can point out his achievements of growing a farm by the buildings that stand on his farm. Prior to his moving onto the farm these buildings were not there.
John King is a friendly man as are other members of his family that I met on the day when I talked with him about his farm. Jack, his cousin, was at the farm picking up some tobacco sticks from John for a project he was working on just down the road. John Sr, had been a tobacco farmer until the government had a buyout for Kentucky farmers. John, his grandson, had just come home from some classes at the college he was attending.
Second large barn that John King built on his farm
Mr King runs a hands-on farm. Every building except for the two homestead buildings has been built by him. Now he didn't go to the lumber company and purchase his building supplies. Rather he went to the woods on his property and felled trees for each building he was to build over the fifty or so years he has lived on his farm. He would take his felled trees to small sawmills located near his farm where the mill hands would cut the wood into the dimensions that Mr King wanted. Then he would haul it back to his farm via tractor with wagon or horse and wagon. Then construction would begin.
First large barn that John King built on his farm
Over time John built three good sized barns, a storage garage, a small utility shed, a corn crib and a tractor shed. All from the trees on his property. All his buildings have been kept in excellent shape.
Growing a farm is quite an accomplishment. I took several photos to show what one person can do when he has the will and the way to make things work.
Oh, and part of his life on the farm changed when he stopped raising tobacco. He took an off farm job for a while telling me that it was almost impossible to make enough money as a small independent farmer anymore unless one worked both on the farm and an outside job too.
The Kings, according to grandson John, grow all of their food for year-round consumption as well as raising cattle for beef.
Small farms, according to 2009 statistics, have grown by 4%. Mostly attributable to demand for local and organic food. Most of this growth is found in small farms under 50 acres.