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Farms grow more than just produce

Putting people to work instead of putting them behind bars is not a new concept, but it is one that appears to be working very well when comes to the Lawrence County Adult Probation Farm.

The program operated through the Common Pleas Courts allows adults sentenced to community service for low-level criminal offenses to spend time in the field tending crops of fruits and vegetables.

Although only in its second-year this program is paying dividends — quite literally — for the county, as much of the food goes to supply the county jail. Although the exact dollar amount may be unknown, to say that this program has saved the county thousands of dollars is certainly not a stretch of the imagination.

Some of the food is donated to local organizations that work to fight hunger in our area. The Ironton-Lawrence County community action organization has a farm of its own that it uses for much the same purpose when it comes to its programs.

These farms also help develop work ethic, appreciation for a routine, responsibility and pride, among other characteristics.

We applaud all those involved for thinking outside the box and finding a way to turn a negative into a positive.

Because of available land both programs could expand next year.

These farms are, excuse the pun, ripe for growing, and the county will reap the rewards.