02/21/06 — County livestock farmers honor two at annual meeting

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County livestock farmers honor two at annual meeting

By Turner Walston
Published in News on February 21, 2006 1:52 PM

Overman Farms of Grantham was named the Outstanding Livestock Producer in Wayne County for 2005 at the organization's 58th annual meeting Monday night.

The farm was established in 1954 by David John Overman and has grown to a 725-sow, farrow-to-finish operation. It is "one of the few independently-owned hog farms left in North Carolina," Livestock Association President Curtis Shivar said.

Three generations of Overmans have participated in Livestock Association activities, Shivar said. David John Overman was inducted into the Wayne County Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2004.

"We still own our hogs and still grow in the fields," Overman said.

The organization presented its annual Service Award to Belmon Bailey, who was recognized for his 25 years of work with the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair.

A full-time employee of Wayne County Public Schools, Bailey spends his vacation time working at the fairgrounds, performing maintenance and other duties during the fair.

Shivar called Bailey a "very dedicated and very conscientious" worker.

"He does what needs to be done, and he never complains about it. He does the job, and he does it in a very, very professional manner," Shivar said.

During the meeting at the Wayne Center, fair director Milton Ingram reported on the 2005 fair.

"We really had a good fair in place, however the weather did not want to cooperate with us," Ingram said, referring to rain on the final three days of the 10-day event. He said wet weather hurt attendance and revenues.

Ingram said Powers Great American Midway will continue to provide the rides and games at the Wayne fair. The company was chosen by the state Department of Agriculture to provide amusements for the State Fair. Powers will leave Wayne directly for Raleigh in October, Ingram said. Wayne's fair will be held Sept. 28-Oct. 7.

The Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair won four awards at the 2006 North Carolina-South Carolina Annual Fair Convention, Ingram announced. Wayne's fair won in the catalog, newspaper advertising and billboard categories. The fair also won the Youth Award for youth participation for the 15th time since 1987.

"I think that speaks well for the kids and the leadership of the youth in Wayne County," Ingram said.

Ingram said fair organizers will continue to emphasize safety, adding more wash stations, signs and fencing to help prevent disease. He noted that Dr. Mary Ann McBride, a state veterinarian, used Wayne fair's safety measures as an example during a workshop at the annual fair convention.

Shivar delivered the annual president's report, touting Wayne's ranking by Farm Futures magazine as the fifth-best county in the United States in which to farm.

"The Association is proud of its early efforts, as well as its ongoing efforts to promote livestock production in Wayne County," Shivar said.

Shivar said the Association would continue those efforts through events like the Junior Livestock Show and Sale and the fair.

Agriculture is changing every day, Shivar said, and the association will continue to address the changes.

"I trust that we will never lose sight of the purpose of the Association," Shivar said, "and that is to promote livestock in Wayne County."

Eileen Coite, a livestock agent with Cooperative Extension, said 83 animals were shown at the annual Junior Livestock Show and Sale, raising more than $32,000, with profits going toward scholarships.

The association's officers were re-elected for another year. They are Shivar, president; R. Charles Aycock, first vice president; Ashley Glover, second vice president; and Eddie Pitzer, secretary-treasurer.

Michael Williams and Gabe Mitchell were elected to four-year terms on the association's board of directors. Committee chairmen are John Tart II for cattle, Billy Ray Thomas for horses, Barb Williamson for poultry, Mike Williams for swine; and Milton Ingram for the fair.

The Livestock Association awarded five scholarships worth $8,400 to high school seniors that have been active in Association activities:

*Lyndsay Lowe of Charles B. Aycock received a $1,200 scholarship to attend Wayne Community College.

*Renee Mooring of Charles B. Aycock received a $1,200 scholarship to attend Wayne Community College.

*Michael Sauls of Eastern Wayne received a $1,200 scholarship to attend Wayne Community College.

*Stephen Tart II of Rosewood received a $2,400 scholarship to attend Campbell University.

*Justin Williams of Southern Wayne received a $2,400 scholarship to attend North Carolina State University.