02/26/13 — Family, manager honored at annual livestock banquet

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Family, manager honored at annual livestock banquet

By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 26, 2013 1:46 PM

The Wayne County Livestock Development Association Monday night presented its Outstanding Livestock Producer of the Year Award to Stevens Family Farms in the Grantham community and honored its longtime fair manager Milton Ingram and his wife, Sandra, for their many years of service.

The awards were presented at the Association's 65th annual meeting held at the Wayne Center.

Ed and Cindy Stevens began their family farm operation in 1976 with 30 acres of primarily row crops and vegetables. It has since grown to 357 acres and includes chickens, turkey, swine and beef operations.

They have 105,000 turkeys and 16,000 top hogs annually along with a herd of Polled Hereford cattle.

Their children, Cody and Katie, work in the farming operation as well.

Stevens directs the overall management and decision-making for the farming operation including the purchase of supplies, equipment operations, repair and maintenance and nutrient management. Mrs. Stevens oversees maintenance and beautification of the farms and assists with nutrient management records on both the swine and poultry farms as well as their litter-spreading operation. She also manages and maintains financial records.

They are both certified animal waste management operators.

The Association selected Stevens Family Farms as Poultry Producer of the Year in 1987 and 1988. Their operation was named 2005 Swine Farm of the Year and Safe Farm of the Year in 2006 by Murphy-Brown, and in 2009 was honored as Family Farm of the Year by the N.C. State Grange.

The Stevenses are active in the community and on the county and state levels.

Stevens has served on the Wayne County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and the N.C. Farm Bureau Poultry Committee. He serves on the Wayne County Voluntary Agricultural District Advisory Board and is a member of the Wayne County Farmers Association, Wayne County Livestock Development Association, N.C. Poultry Association, International Association of Livestock Appraisers and the American Society of Farm Equipment Appraisers.

He is a licensed auctioneer and both he and his wife are active in the Grantham Grange. They also are active with the Grange on the state and national levels.

Mrs. Stevens is a member of the Wayne County Farm Bureau Women's Committee.

They attend Falling Creek United Methodist Church and are supporters of the Cooperative Extension Service.

Ingram, who retired in January after 28 years as manager of the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair, received the association's Service Award, and his wife, Sandra, also was honored, receiving a special award in recognition for her volunteer work at the fair.

"During his tenure, the fair has continued to grow and be judged as one of the best fairs in North Carolina," said Eddie Pitzer, the new fair manager.

Association President Curtis Shivar, who presented the award, said that the board had approved numerous improvements to the fairgrounds during Ingram's tenure.

"Milton was responsible for implementing these changes," he said. "Most notable are the new office, which is 10 years old so it isn't really new, and the paving. Milton's proactive approach as fair manager has lead to our fair becoming a leader in initiating safety precautions for the prevention of infectious diseases.

"His passion was the fair. During his tenure the fair has received the Youth Award for 20 years, the Agriculture Award for 10 years, and the Image Award for 12 years including four consecutive years from 2009-12 and five of the last six years. The Association is indebted to Milton for his service and wish him the best life can offer in retirement."

In honoring Mrs. Ingram, Shivar said that she had been an "ardent and active" supporter of the fair.

"She has been a one-person sounding board for ideas and challenges facing the fair," he said.

Mrs. Ingram has been director of the Got to be N.C. Agriculture display for nine years, having won the state award for eight of those years. She has directed the fair's Scarecrow Contest for three years.

She has assisted in exhibitor registration, passing out exhibitor premiums at the end of the fair and has helped in the fair office during peak times -- and all on a volunteer basis, Shivar said.