Brothers Ronald and Nelson Parks, who own a Seven Springs area farming operation, were honored Monday night by the Wayne County Livestock Development Association as its 2017 Outstanding Producer.

The association also paid tribute to Curtis Shivar who is stepping down as association president having served in that office for 30 of his 33 years with the organization.

The association also announced the establishment of the Curtis Shivar Wayne Community College Scholarship in honor of his many years of dedicated service to agricultural education in the county as a teacher and administrator and for his many years of service as association president.

The awards, along with $12,000 in scholarships, were presented during the association's annual banquet held at Lane Tree Golf Club.

"Parks Farms has been an agriculture entity for generations in Wayne County and Ronald and Nelson grew up in this way of life," said Extension agent Stefani Sykes, who presented the award.

In addition to a 200-head beef cattle operation, for which Ronald Parks grows the hay, the brothers have a diversified farming operation, she said.

It includes tobacco, cotton, corn, wheat, soybeans and timber.

They also grow 300 hogs as an independent producer, one of the few remaining in the state, Sykes said.

"Both of these men help their community in many ways including cleaning up debris after storms for their neighbors and serving as advocates at local and state levels," she said.

Ronald Parks is active at Thunder Swamp Pentecostal Holiness Church at Mount Olive and is a longtime member of the Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District board, Sykes said.

Both are graduates of Southern Wayne School at Dudley and are devoted to farming and agriculture, she said.

Ronald Parks and Peggy, his wife of 41 years, have three children and three grandchildren.

Nelson Parks has two daughters and one granddaughter and was married to the late Jill Parks for 31 years.

Incoming association President Mark Hood presented Shivar with the organization's Dedicated Service Award.

Shivar was born and reared on a farm in the Seven Springs community. A graduate of Seven Springs High School, Shivar attended N.C. State University earning a master's degree in agricultural education.

He and his wife, Virginia, have been married 53 years. They have a son and daughter-in-law, Phil and Deborah Shivar, a daughter and son-in-law, Janie and Stan Arnold, and two grandchildren, Matthew and Hope Shivar.

Shivar is an active member of May's Chapel Free Will Baptist Church where he has served as a deacon, Sunday school teacher, Sunday school superintendent, choir director and chairman of the building and grounds committee.

He taught agriculture on the high school level before becoming a teacher at Wayne Community College in the livestock and poultry technology curriculum. He later became an administrator at the college.

After his retirement, Shivar continued serving on several agricultural and educational committees in the county.

"He's a person that at times during a discussion you wonder if he's engaged in the conversation because he sits there just listening to what's being said and not saying anything," Hood said. "Then all of a sudden, in his gentle and gentleman manner, a lot of well-thought-through wisdom comes out concerning the issue at hand that actually makes a lot of sense.

"Curtis has promoted the Wayne County livestock industry, encouraged youths to participate in agricultural activities and worked diligently to make the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair one of the best in the state."

Shivar also has been instrumental in the continued success of the Wayne County Junior Livestock Show and Sale, Hood said.

"The association will be forever grateful for the dedication and commitment this man has shown over those years," he said. "There is nothing that we could do or say that would adequately express our appreciation for all he's given to promote this great organization.

"So we'll just say it's a tremendous honor for us to recognize Mr. Curtis Shivar for all of his years of dedicated service to Wayne County and the Wayne County Livestock Development Association."

The scholarship to be given in his honor will be $2,400 annually over the next five years to a Wayne County High School graduate planning on attending one of the agriculture programs at Wayne Community College.

Recipients must complete the association's scholarship application. They also must have been very active in the association and/or the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair and must have demonstrated outstanding academic and leadership skills.

The association scholarship committee will recommend the recipient each year to the association board of directors for approval.

The association awarded seven scholarships totaling $12,000 to seven Wayne County students.

Scholarship amounts are given on three levels: $2,400 for students attending a senior college or university; $1,200 for attending a community college or N.C. State University Agriculture Institute; and $1,200 for students transferring to a senior college or university.

Three of the students are seniors at Southern Wayne High School.

They are Brett Cox, who will major in agribusiness at Wayne Community College, $1,200; Christopher Daly Jr., who will major in crop and soil science at N.C. State University, $2,400; and Cathryn Jones, who will major in agribusiness management at N.C. State University, $2,400.

Scholarships also were awarded to: Samantha Froehlich of Eastern Wayne High School, who will pursue a nursing degree at Wayne Community College, $1,200; Taylor Glover of Charles B. Aycock High School, Pikeville, who will pursue an applied animal science degree at Wayne Community College, $1,200; Hannah Lewis of Rosewood High School, who will study poultry science at N.C. State University, $2,400; and Courtney Outlaw, a student at Wayne Community College, who will pursue a degree in animal production at the University of Mount Olive, $1,200.