Farmers receive top honors at annual banquet
By Steve Herring
Published in News on March 20, 2009 1:46 PM
Crop yield contest winners were recognized Thursday night at the Wayne County Farmers Association's Ladies Night program. From left are association president Keith Waller of Mount Olive; Ron Sutton of Sutton Brothers Farms of Seven Springs, first place in corn and second in soybeans; Bennie Barwick of B.W. Barwick Farms of Seven Springs, first place in soybeans; Spencer Scott of the Patetown community, cotton variety test plot cooperator; and Extension Agent Kevin Johnson. Not present were wheat yield winners Warren Davis of Eureka, first place, Harrell Overman of Grantham, second place, and Steve Hooks of Fremont, third place. Overman also won second place in corn yield. Other test plot cooperators were Jeff Parks of the Hood Swamp community, soybean variety, and Overman, corn variety.
The Wayne County Farmers Association presented three $500 scholarships during its annual Ladies Night program Thursday at the Wayne Center. From left are association President Keith Waller of Mount Olive who presented the scholarships to Caroline Tart of Goldsboro, Eric Jones of Rosewood and Jessica Howell of Mount Olive.
Farming and the farming community aren't changing, they already have changed and it is up to the farmers to tell their stories and to have a voice in the community.
That was County Manager Lee Smith's message Thursday night during the Wayne County Farmers Association's annual Ladies Night program.
A highlight of the evening was the presentation of three scholarships and crop yield contest awards.
Association President Keith Waller presented the $500 scholarships to Eric Jones of Rosewood, a student at Wayne Community College pursuing a degree in animal science technology and agribusiness; Jessica Howell of Mount Olive, an agribusiness major at Mount Olive College; and Caroline Tart of Goldsboro, who plans to attend N.C. State University to pursue a degree in agriculture education in hopes of one day being an agriculture teacher.
There was little to celebrate last year about the county's dismal corn crop, Johnson said in presenting yield contest awards. However, he said there must have been "several (rain) clouds" that passed over a Sutton Brothers Farms of Seven Springs field that produced 205.10 bushels per acre. Second place went to Harrell Overman of Grantham with 168.66 bushels per acre.
Johnson called the county's soybean crop "phenomenal." First place in the yield contest went to B.W. Barwick Farms of Seven Springs with 55.55 bushel per acre and second place to Sutton Brothers Farms with 54.87 bushel per acre.
For the third year in a row the wheat yield contest was won by Warren Davis of Eureka with 102.63 bushels per acre followed by Harrell Overman with 97.33 and Steve Hooks of Fremont with 93.55.
Johnson also recognized farmers who participated as test plot cooperators -- Spencer Scott of the Patetown community, cotton variety test; Jeff Parks of the Hood Swamp community, soybean variety test; and Harrell Overman, corn variety test.
Smith noted that he had recently spoken at a Mount Olive College program on the importance of making sure that agriculture and the farm community have a voice in government
"That is a problem," he said. "It is a problem in that we don't tell the story. You have got to tell the story. We don't do that. We do it for industry."
Smith noted the disappearance of farmland as subdivisions and commercial establishments spread across Wayne. He noted the building of a new U.S. 70 highway and the development that can be expected to accompany it.
"Development is going to occur along those highways. It is going to be too attractive financially for people not to sell property, but land behind those developments can be protected and preserved for farmland and we need to do that," he said.
"That is going to take money any way that you look at it. When you talk about zoning, zoning is not a bad word. Zoning is as good as you will make it. It is as good as you being at the table. You have got to be at the table and talk with planners. There is a lot of farmland in (municipal) ETJs (extraterritorial jurisdictions) that surround, Goldsboro, Mount Olive, Fremont. It (farmland) is not all in the county."
Smith encouraged farmers to attend Planning Board meetings and to lobby for their interests.
"When they change those zones you could get restricted out," Smith said. "You actually could lose farmland through zoning, you can also gain and save farmland through zoning and development opportunities."
He urged farmers to keep themselves educated on the issues. And he said diversifying farming is important.
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