Farming and fair, both things to be proud of

Kim Brooks
Babbling Brooks Column
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     These past few weeks here at the Express have been busy.

     We published our Beef and Dairy Issue, which was actually fun for me this year. I got to interview Nicole Monck about owning and operating her very own farm, as well as Jones County Dairy Princess Grace Gadient.

     I was thoroughly impressed with what both gals had to say! They are so well versed about their respective operations.

     Grace knew so much about her family’s farming operation, especially the milking times and when and how that has to be done. She could have written the article better than I any day!

     And, knowing her love of cheese, I bet Grace and I would enjoy a day out sampling cheeses. I, too, am a cheese connoisseur.

     The Jones County Dairy Producers made a wise choice with Grace Gadient.

     Nicole blew me away!

     At 21 years old, she closed on her very own farm, not just cropland, but also buildings, livestock and a house at that! Not many 21-year-olds even own a house of their own, let alone an entire farm. I’m 32 and don’t even own a house yet.

     I could tell that Nicole’s parents, Jeff and Shielley Monck, taught her well. She knows the ropes around her parents’ farm, and will definitely have no problems running her own operation.

     Both Nicole and Grace stood out in the many interviews I’ve done recently. I have said time and again that children who grow up on farms and/or work on farms seem to have an innate ability to work hard. They carry such a strong work ethic, know the importance of earning a living, and get the job done.

     I see it at the fair every summer, too. Those 4-H and FFA youth put in hours and hours of hard work to produce award-winning F.A.S.T. projects and prepare their livestock for show. We sit there and take pictures of all of the champions and reserve champions, and see these huge smiles on their faces when they come away top winners. All that work pays off in the end.

     Speaking of the fair (those of us at the Express aren’t ready to hear that “F” word yet), this year’s kickoff was extra special thanks to the backdrop: the new equestrian center.

     What an amazing project to have completed at our fairground here in Monticello!

     As someone who covered part of the Horse Show last year before the demolition derby, I can tell you the roof over the arena will be a welcome addition. The hot sun, even at 9 a.m., was unbearable last year. And when you’re sitting or standing outside without any cover for as long as the Horse Show lasts, some shade and respite is needed.

     This will be my eighth Great Jones County Fair this summer. In my years here, I’ve seen many changes for the better at the fairgrounds: the new permanent stage, the new Youth Development Center, an expanded beer garden area, the addition of camping at the fairgrounds, and now a new equestrian center. And all that in less than 10 years! Just think of what’s been accomplished at the fair prior to that.

     We have a great asset here in Jones County to be proud of.

     During the Jones County Farm Bureau meeting last week, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig complimented everyone on a fantastic fair.

     When Iowa’s new Governor Kim Reynolds visited MVEC a few weeks ago, a member of her team who had never heard of our county fair (shocking), was surprised by the magnitude of entertainment we draw here.

     So many great things to be proud of!


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