02/23/10 — Livestock Association honors top local producer at meeting

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Livestock Association honors top local producer at meeting

By Laura Collins
Published in News on February 23, 2010 1:46 PM

More than 130 people attended the Wayne County Livestock Development Association's 62nd annual meeting Monday night.

At the meeting, local farmer Randy Alan Gray, of Circle G Farm, received the Outstanding Livestock Producer Award.

Agriculture Extension Agent Eileen Coite commended Gray for having such a diversified farm. Each year, he raises approximately 500,000 broilers for Case Farms, has a herd of 70 cows, produces 200 tons of tilapia, 10,000 gilts (immature female pigs) for Goldsboro Hog Farms and 290,000 fingerlings (young fish).

The farm is run by Gray and his brother Robert Gray and one additional employee.

"As if farming doesn't keep him busy enough," Ms. Coite said. "Randy is the current fire chief of the Faro Fire Department and has been an active member for 24 years."

Gray is also president of the Wayne County Wildlife Club, a board member of the N.C. Aquaculture Association and Fresh Keepers Cooperative and a founding member of Wayne County Cattlemen's Association.

Gray briefly thanked his peers for the award with a humble, "Thanks y'all." Later he said he feels honored to have been singled out for his work.

"Wow. I know I was nominated, but I didn't know I won. It was unexpected," he said. "It makes me feel proud. I didn't ever think I'd win anything like this."

He added that he is thankful to his mother and father for giving him the opportunity to farm, and to his wife, Lee, for her support. He said it's important for farmers to diversify, especially in this economy.

"When the market is down in one place, it may be up in another," he said. "Ideally, everything would be up at the same time, but it's not."

Also at the meeting, board president Curtis Shivar awarded the Wayne County Livestock Development Association Service Award to Luby and Janice Edwards.

Shivar said the two have been involved with the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair for 25 years, have helped with the Junior Swine Show at the fair for 25 years and have been dedicated 4-H leaders for 27 years.

"And let me tell you that they are always pleasant, smiling, cooperative and willing to help with anything," Shivar said. "They are just they best that anyone could ask for. They are an example of what volunteering for the Livestock Association really means."

Six scholarships were also awarded at the meeting. The recipients are:

* Kylie Glisson, Rosewood High School, $2,400

* Hannah Grantham, Southern Wayne High School, $2,400

* Chelsea Outlaw, Spring Creek High School, $1,200

* Elizabeth Price, Spring Creek High School, $2,400

* Elizabeth Stevens, Southern Wayne High School, $2,400

* Kelsey Wolfe, Rosewood High School, $2,400.