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A home-grown honor
Longtime farmers, Reids chosen as family of year
web farm family 2
E.H. Reid, left, talks with his son, Danny, as they discuss how much seed they need to put down in the pasture. The family, which has been farming some of the land for eight generations, has been named the Farm Family of the Year by the Upper Chattahoochee River Soil and Conservation District. - photo by Jim Dean

The family of E.H. "Paw Paw" Reid of Forsyth County has farmed since before the Civil War.

"That's a long time," the 83-year-old said Monday, adding with a smile, "of course, I wasn't around when we got it."

He said eight generations of Reids have worked the family's land, and it's no secret things change over time.

"People used to slow down for a tractor in the road," he said. "These days nine out of 10 times they speed up like they want to hit you. I seen a lot of people do that."

The Upper Chattahoochee River Soil and Water Conservation District has named the Reid family its Farm Family of the Year, an annual honor since the 1960s.

Mary Sue Ridings, a soil conservationist, agreed that things are changing. Farms like the Reids' are disappearing in Forsyth County.

"You don't see many like this," Ridings said. "This farm deserves recognition."

The Reid family will be honored along with top farm families from Dawson, Lumpkin, Habersham and White counties at the conservation district's annual banquet at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Cumming Baptist Family Life Center.

Danny and Wanda Reid, the son and daughter-in-law of E.H. Reid, were surprised to learn a couple of weeks ago that their 350-acre commercial beef cattle farm had been selected.

Wanda Reid said her husband has been farming all of his life and it's "all he's ever known."

Among the farm's better known features is the Reid Barn, which the family rents out for wedding receptions and sports banquets, as well as letting organizations around the county use it for fundraisers.

Danny Reid said he initially intended to use the barn for antique tractor storage. While it was being built, though, the architect's daughter made a proposition.

She was looking for a good spot for her wedding reception, and the barn's elegance won her over.

According to Wanda Reid, "Danny told the woman the only way you can have your reception there is if your Daddy hurries up and gets the barn built."

Danny Reid smiled thinking about it.

"We didn't build it for that," he said. "We're getting some use out of it though."

Danny Reid owns Reid & Reid Grading Contractors with his son, Brad. He and Wanda Reid own and operate the farm.

E.H. Reid said the county's farm land is disappearing.

"That's the way it is," he said. "We used to have 14 different farms leased out in the county. Now we ain't got but two, because all of the others have been developed."

But E.H. Reid continues to work the land. He was operating one of the family's tractors Monday afternoon, putting grass seed in the ground to help preserve the soil.