Clay County Courier
Special to the Times-Democrat
It would be hard for anyone, even farmers, to keep up with the changing farm programs, procedures and rules of the past and present.
But to do it for more than 26 straight years is a true accomplishment. Thanks to the efforts of Carol Hunt of Corning, hundreds of Clay County farmers are served every year through the auspices of Farm Service Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. From her office in Piggott, Ms. Hunt has seen government programs change, then change again.
"When I first went to work we were the ASCS (Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service) and recording cotton information was the most pressing job," she explained. "Then we became Consolidated Farm Service Agency, then finally Farm Service Agency (FSA). Over the years programs went from Payment Limitation and Crop Assistance Program (CAP) to Farm Facility Loans." Many others have elapsed to be replaced by more viable programs.
Ms. Hunt will agree, the name change has been the easiest part of describing her job that entails assisting farmers who lean on employees of FSA to know the programs and share the benefits of each.
Recalling those first days with ASCS, she talks of filling-out Cotton-A1 forms without making typographical errors because of a shortage of paper and government forms. That was before computers, and mountains of papers were stored inside or stacked on top of file cabinets.
Since the 1990s, one additional job assigned to Ms. Hunt has been becoming part of a team examining books of farmers participating in certain FSA programs. She said, "This is similar to an IRS audit where we look at a prepared checklist. We started out doing this in our own county, but for the last several years we go to a certain location to work on papers of farmers from another county while other examiners look at Clay County's farmers' reports."
With December 28, 2012 nearing, the day set for retirement, Ms. Hunt
realizes she will begin a new chapter in her life, one that does not
include driving 60 miles per day with winter's uncertain weather conditions.
"I have enjoyed my job and I've had times when I thought how many more deadlines could they put on us? But I've never been sorry or disliked my job," she added.
She talked of her farmer-friends, many of whom she has dealt with and worked through government programs since 1986. Before that, from 1972-1986, Ms. Hunt was employed in the front office of Corning Distribution (Carter Carburetor). That adds to a total of 40 years in her professional career.
Her immediate plans include helping family members operate Hunt'N for Bargains, a flea market in Corning, catching up on things that need to be done around the home and helping with great-granddaughter Kaylan Stokes (which really isn't work).
She is married to Roy Hunt who recently retired from Corning Publishing Company. They are the parents of daughters Dana Hunt and Shelly Johnson. Grandchildren are Brett Hunt, Austin Johnson, Peyton Cartwright and Alexis Edington, and great-granddaughter Kaylan.
After setting a retirement date, Ms. Hunt reflected, saying, "I will miss my job and the friendships, but we are at the end of the present farm bill and I feel I need to retire to move on with my life. My friends here at work are like my family. We have shared births, weddings, grandchildren and deaths. I will miss that friendship most of all."
A retirement party and reception for Ms. Hunt will be held Tuesday,
Dec. 18 from 2 to 4p.m. in Clay County's FSA office at 188 East Main in Piggott and will be attended by family and friends.