From the Tractor
by Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
I am personally looking forward to the Got to Be NC Festival June 5-8 at the State Fairgrounds. Celebrating North Carolina’s agricultural heritage and raising awareness about North Carolina’s $66 billion agriculture and agribusiness industry and the good food products made here in the state are great reasons for this event.
I always enjoy looking at old farm equipment, and we are anticipating having more than 700 pieces on display during the four-day event. It should be a great collection to view.
I’ll even be bringing a small part of my personal collection to display in the Holshouser Building. I’ve been collecting and restoring items for a number of years and have some pieces on display now in the Agriculture Building in downtown Raleigh. I like people to know when they stop in the building that they aren’t in just any state government offices, but they are in the Agriculture Building.
Among the items I will have on display are a one-horse wagon, a seven-horsepower throttle governor engine, a 24-inch Meadows grist mill on a wagon, hit-and-miss engine and a miniature carriage.
I think two of the things I find so interesting about the old equipment is how far we have come in terms of technological advances, but also how much we can still learn from these antiques.
The idea of using corn stalks and soybean hay to feed cattle during the 2007 drought actually was triggered by an antique piece I came across when I was looking to add to my collection.
I saw a cutting machine like one my grandfather had that was used to chop up corn stalks to feed livestock. Stalks of corn were placed in the trough then hand-cut to turn into feed.
That memory got me thinking that we might be able to use corn stalks and soybean hay, items not traditionally used, to bring some relief to farmers whose grazing lands were drying up and to avert a potential animal welfare crisis.
With the help of N.C. State University, we looked at nutritional content to see if this was a feasible solution. We found that, used with supplemental feed, the corn stalks and soybean hay would work. Cooperative extension agents and N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services staff starting holding workshops across the state to talk to farmers about how this would work and farmers starting baling these commodities for use.
It was a classic case of farmer helping farmer, and I know it helped a lot of producers avoid a real crisis. As I traveled across the state, I saw farm after farm where producers were using the corn and soybean fodder for their cattle. That was a great feeling.
Whenever I attend an antique farm equipment show, one of the most rewarding experiences to me is seeing a grandfather or father explaining to a young child how an old piece of equipment worked and what it was used for. It is important for us to pass on this knowledge, because it may provide answers in the future.
I hope we have great weather a great turnout for the Got to Be NC Festival . And I hope to see a lot of our Agricultural Review readers there.