The subscription king retires

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SALEM, Ohio — Forty-five years ago, Wayne Hammond walked into the Farm and Dairy office and made an offer we couldn’t refuse: Let me sell subscriptions out in the field.

It sounded good to Ruth Henry, who handled circulation at the time, so they worked out a deal, “and I took off,” Hammond said. “I think I sold the very first subscription on the way home.”

Over the years, Hammond became a familiar face at auctions and other events in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, including the Farm and Dairy’s booth at the Rogers Community Auction on Friday nights.

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Retiring

Hammond, who also worked 33 years with the Babcock & Wilcox Company, is retiring this month from selling subscriptions to Farm and Dairy, putting away the little clipboard that was his “desk” out in the field.

“It’s not easy for me to do this,” Hammond said, “but I’m getting older and it’s not as easy for me to get around.”

Making friends

Whenever he visited a new auctioneer or sale, Hammond would first talk to the auctioneer and get permission to be there. He can’t remember anyone turning him down.

“I wanted to be in the road, but out of the road,” he joked.

Some of those auctioneers and their staff have become friends, and many auctioneers give Hammond and Farm and Dairy a plug from the podium.

Hammond would set up a route to get to as many auctions or events as he could in one day. “I remember getting down on the floor Friday nights and spreading the map out, to see how many sales I could go to.”

“I’d be gone all day.”

That’s why Hammond is especially thankful of his wife, Emma, who was left at home to raise their now grown family, three daughters and one son. The couple has been married almost 51 years.

Raised on farm

The sales gene may be inherited, as Hammond’s father sold Pennsylvania Farmer subscriptions for more than 30 years in addition to farming full time.

Hammond worked on his family’s farm and raised Berkshire hogs before joining the Army in 1954. When he was discharged, after being stationed in Germany, he eventually took the job at Babcock and Wilcox and then hit the road for Farm and Dairy.

Hammond could put that farm background to good use when talking to prospective readers, and was even willing to take things in trade for the price of a subscription.

“I’d get four or five bags of corn or oats, and on my way home, I’d sell it to somebody else,” so he had the money to submit with the subscription order. In fact, he had a standing order for oats from one of his friends with horses.

Always busy

Hammond is also active in the Fairview Grange #1351 and has served in nearly all its officer positions, including master, or president. He is also a trustee at the First United Presbyterian Church in Darlington.

Tough decision

Hammond never had any trouble striking up a conversation with anyone, which contributed to his sales ability. And he always knew he was doing more than just selling — he was representing the Farm and Dairy.

“When I put my hat on Saturday morning, I was always Farm and Dairy,” Hammond said.

“It will be hard to go out and say ‘I’m Wayne Hammond’ and not add ‘from the Farm and Dairy’ any more.”

(Editor Susan Crowell can be reached at 800-837-3419 or at editor@farmanddairy.com.)

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