I come to you to appeal for your support, to ask you as citizens and as leaders to join in a great movement for rural development in the South . . . We shall improve the South's agricultural practice, bring it up to Northern and Western standards -and thereby up to Northern and Western profits.
-Clarence H. Poe, editor of Progressive Farmer
, in a speech to Southern Commercial Congress, December 8, 1908
At least five years before the family moved to Reynolda, Katharine Reynolds had decided to establish a model farm where local farmers could learn the benefits of soil analysis, crop rotation, and other progressive methods not widely known in the region. To encourage them to produce their own food, in addition to cash crops such as tobacco, Reynolda grew a wide range of vegetables and fruit. Superintendent Clint Wharton was trained in the most up-to-date methods at North Carolina Agricultural and Mechanical College in Raleigh, and was an important resource for farmers who wanted to diversify their crops.
Agricultural associations were not only promoting the cultivation of a wider variety of produce, but also the raising and upgrading of livestock. Katharine introduced pedigree Jersey cattle, Tamworth hogs, and Shropshire sheep to provide her family with a varied supply of meat and to improve the stock in surrounding counties.
The Reynolda dairy, one of the most modern in the country, was established in response to a statewide call for greater production of clean milk. The dairy supplied milk for the family, village residents, regular customers, and the lunchrooms at the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Some farm expenses were offset at the city market, but model farms were not established to make a profit so much as to assist in upgrading rural life.