02/23/07 — Livestock Association reviews fair, honors volunteers

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Livestock Association reviews fair, honors volunteers

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on February 23, 2007 1:48 PM

Wayne County Livestock Development Association members and their families gathered at the Wayne Center Thursday night to reflect on one of the group's most successful years and to look ahead to this year.

Wayne was North Carolina's leader in livestock production and agriculture in 2006, with farm sales exceeding $314 million, Livestock Development Association President Curtis Shivar said. The farmers who benefited the most in the past year were livestock and poultry producers and their supporting businesses and industries.

The association also fared well financially in 2006, accumulating more than $600,000 in revenue, more than any other year in the organization's 59-year history. Some of that success came from the association's annual events such as the Junior Livestock Show and Sale and the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair. Although the fair brought in more revenue than the previous year, rainy weather on the last weekend of the event kept revenues from being even greater, Fair Manager Milton Ingram said.

Organizers said they expect this year's fair, to be held Sept. 27-Oct. 6, to top last year's attendance with the announcement that the fair will bring back the crowd-pleasing bull-riding competition.

The Junior Livestock Show and Sale gave more than 50 young people the opportunity to show animals and raised more than $46,000. The Wayne County Horse Bowl teams were recently named district champions for the fourth straight year. The junior hippology team was ranked first in the state for its study and knowledge of horses.

Also, 25 people represented Wayne County at last year's State Fair with Douglas Williams' open barrow sow chosen as grand champion.

Thursday night's event also recognized the people who make the association one of the most vibrant in the state, as well as the new generation of volunteers who are expected to contribute to the organization in the future.

The association's 2006 Outstanding Livestock Producer Award was presented to Ron and Debbie Craig of Grantham. The Craigs moved to Wayne County from Missouri in 1986 to start a hog farm. What started as a small operation raising hogs and the occasional show lamb for their children, began to expand in 1996 when they bought a 624 farrow-to feeder-sow farm. The family farm has since expanded now includes a dairy goat operation -- Holly Grove Farms, a 700-head goat dairy and cheese processing facility.

Don Musgrave was named the Service Award recipient for 2006. Officials said Musgrave earned the award for his service as auctioneer for the Junior Livestock Show and Sale. Musgrave also has bought animals at the sale and helped sponsor the fair.

The association's leadership also recognized six students who have been heavily involved in agriculture. They received scholarships of up to $2,400 to help continue their education.

Laura Howe, a student at Eastern Wayne High School, received a $2,400 scholarship. She plans to attend North Carolina State University and major in horticulture.

Michelle Joyner also plans to attend N.C. State to major in agricultural education. The Southern Wayne High School student received a $2,400 scholarship.

Two other Southern Wayne students, David Overman and Whitli Thornton, also received $2,400 scholarships. Overman plans to attend N.C. State and work toward a biology degree with the ultimate goal of studying medicine. Miss Thornton plans to study nursing at either the University of North Carolina at Wilmington or Barton College.

Stephanie Lewis, a Spring Creek High School student, received a $1,200 scholarship. She plans to work toward a degree as a veterinary technician at Central Carolina Community College.

Charles B. Aycock High School student Maegan Yelverton received a $2,400 scholarship to N.C. State to study construction engineering and management.