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<p><p>HELLO - Cows scrutinize a vistor to their pasture along State Road 415 in Osteen. Census data count 3,514 residents in Osteen - at 39 per square mile. </p></p><p>BEACON PHOTO/AL EVERSON</p>
HELLO - Cows scrutinize a vistor to their pasture along State Road 415 in Osteen. Census data count 3,514 residents in Osteen - at 39 per square mile.  BEACON PHOTO/AL EVERSON

The agricultural industry is the silent engine of Volusia County’s economy, with local farmers creating jobs, feeding families and pumping more than $780 million into the local economy.

Residents can visit eight of the more than 1,500 farms — and one baseball stadium! — in Volusia County during the 40th annual Farm Tour, set for 9 a.m.-noon Friday, Nov. 19. (The last tour begins at 11:30 a.m.)

The Univer sity of Florida/Volusia County Extension and the Volusia County Farm Bureau jointly sponsor the Farm Tour, which has been a popular fall tradition since 1981.

Those wishing to visit the farms provide their own transportation, and may pick and choose from among the tours.

West Volusia farm tours

• Melching Field at Conrad Park, 555 S. Woodland Blvd., DeLand: 8:45 to 9:30 a.m.

This picturesque, fan-friendly stadium has been the home of Stetson Hatters teams for 21 seasons.

Built in 1998 by the City of DeLand, it also host s DeLand High School baseball and the DeLand Suns wood-bat summer college baseball team.

The stadium hosted the first-ever NCAA Baseball Regional Tournament in 2018, and the following year it was selected as the Sports Turf Managers Association College Baseball Field of the Year. This tour will be offered only once, at 8:45 a.m.

• Sampsell’s Family Farm, 5931 Lake Winona Road, DeLeon Springs: 9 a.m. to noon

This emerging agricultural enterprise has raised white-tailed deer for the past 10 years, selling and bucks to various game preserves. releasing trophy-sized

See how this sustainable enterprise raises a reliable production of fawns and manages these deer. Thirty-minute tours will be offered at 9, 9:30, 10, 10:30, 11 and 11:30 a.m.

• Happy Hills Farm, 115 Nolan Road, Pierson: 9 a.m. to noon

This sheep farm was established in Babson Park by Dr. Deborah J. Lepley in 2010 and moved to Volusia County five years ago.

The flock is composed of full-blooded dorpers, while the commercial line includes katahdin and dorper crosses. The farm sells its USDA-inspected meat at the Artisan Alley farmers market in DeLand and sells its breeding stock to other farms and youth.

The farm’s business motto is “We don’t just sell sheep, we sell education.”

Thirty-minute tours will be offered at 9, 9:30, 10, 10:30, 11 and 11:30 a.m.

• Vo-LaSalle Farms, 601 Johnson Lake Road, DeLeon Springs: 9 a.m. to noon

The Crump family owns this diversified vegetable farm, which sells directly to consumers. These fifth-generation Florida farmers will discuss their latest vegetable varieties, citrus and orange juice, as well as cutting-edge irrigation techniques.

Fresh-picked fruits, vegetables and a variety of other items will be available for purchase. Thirty-minute tours will be offered at 9, 9:30, 10, 10:30, 11 and 11:30 a.m.

EAST VOLUSIA farm tours

Tours in East Volusia will take place at four locations in New Smyrna Beach:

• Deep Creek Preserve, 964 S. State Road 415;

• Benedict Farms, 705 Airport Road;

• the New Smyrna Beach High School Land Lab, 868 Alberta St.; and

• S & S Apiaries, 2429 Pioneer Trail.

Face coverings are highly encouraged for those on the tours. More information is available from the University of Florida Volusia County Extension office at 386-822-5778, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

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