Agriculture community inducts two into Hall of Fame
By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 22, 2011 1:46 PM
Three people were recognized during Monday night's annual Wayne County Farm-City Banquet. From left are Kevin Johnson, Cooperative Extension Service director; Curtis Shivar, who was inducted into the Wayne County Agriculture Hall of Fame; brothers Kenneth and David Sanderson, whose late father, Joe Sanderson, was inducted as well; Clara Sauls, who was named Wayne County's Outstanding Woman in Agriculture; and Betty Gainey, chairman of the Outstanding Woman in Agriculture Committee.
Wayne County's rural and urban communities Monday night paid tribute to three people for supporting and promoting agriculture, which contributed more than $700 million to the county's economy last year.
Two of the honorees, Curtis Shivar of Dudley and the late Joseph "Joe" Sanderson, were the newest inductees into the Wayne County Agriculture Hall of Fame, while Clara Sauls of Eureka was honored as Wayne County's Outstanding Woman in Agriculture.
The awards were presented before a crowd of more than 200 people at the annual Farm-City Banquet held at the Wayne Center.
"When you see a large group like this it just shows you the power of Wayne County citizens," said Kevin Johnson, Wayne County Cooperative Extension Service director. "We understand the importance between the rural agriculture community and the urban community. In Wayne County we are in a unique place.
"You can't do this in other parts of the state. Where else can you go and have the fourth-largest agriculture county and be one of the largest urban centers in the state? We have those two together and we work together well."
The evening's keynote speaker, Butterball CFO Edward Kacsuta, joked that he could not think of a better time to talk about turkey than just three days before Thanksgiving. However, he said his company is focusing on new turkey products and the traditional whole birds as a way to show people that turkey is a year-round food and is not just for holidays.
The Wayne County Agriculture Hall of Fame began in 1984 to honor local residents who have made outstanding contributions to agriculture in the county. The selection criteria focus on outstanding contributions to agriculture in a managerial, leadership and voluntary capacities in addition to the effect the nominee has had on agriculture in the county.
Sanderson was born in 1920 and grew up in the Great Depression. He managed to win an $80 4-H scholarship and enrolled at North Carolina State University where he earned a degree in animal husbandry. Sanderson was farm manager of the Upper Piedmont Tobacco Experiment Station at Rural Hall in 1947 and later returned to his family farm in the Grantham community.
Johnson called Sanderson a "dedicated caretaker of the land" who spent many years working in soil and water conservation.
Sanderson was a member of the Grantham Grange, the Wayne County Farm Bureau and was chief of the Jordans Chapel Fire Department. He also served on the Wayne County Board of Education, the Wayne Memorial Hospital Board and the Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District Board as well as director of the county Livestock Development Association.
"Mr. Joe has left a legacy that has affected numerous Wayne County citizens," Johnson said.
Sanderson's son, Kenneth Sanderson, accepted the award on behalf of his family.
"My daddy was always proud to be called a farmer," he said. "He had a lot of friends in agriculture, especially in Wayne County, and had a lot of city friends in Wayne County.
"If he were here tonight he would be very honored. On behalf of my family, a lot of them are here tonight, we want to say thank you very much."
Shivar grew up in the Seven Springs community and has been an officer with the Livestock Development Association since 1985 -- the past 23 years as president.
"He has promoted the Wayne County livestock industry, encouraged youth participation in agricultural activities and works diligently to make the Wayne Regional Agriculture Fair one the best in the state," Johnson said.
Shivar has served on numerous agricultural advisory committees for county organizations. He was a high school agriculture teacher before becoming a livestock and poultry instructor at Wayne Community College. He later became an administrator at the college, where he served as a liaison between the college and the county Public Schools.
Shivar thanked his family for supporting him.
"I am very proud to have spent my working life in Wayne County," he said. "I have met many people and have worked with many people and many of them had an influence on my life. I am honored to be selected for this and I am also very humbled by this and I thank you very much."
Mrs. Sauls was introduced by Betty Gainey, chairman of the Outstanding Woman in Agriculture Committee.
"I don't know what to say," Mrs. Sauls said. "I didn't have any idea I was going to get this so I don't have any speech planned. I would like to do this in memory of my husband, Melvin. He and I farmed together for 40 years and we had a good life. We raised our sons on the farm and it is just a good place to be."
"She loves the land as evidenced by farming with her husband for 40 years," Mrs. Gainey said. "They made it a practice to use farming methods to protect their land. The family was truly a farm family as her husband farmed with his dad and their son farmed with them for 18 years. "
Mrs. Gainey is active in her church, Eureka United Methodist, and in the community. She also serves on the Eureka Planning Commission.