From the Tractorby Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
This year’s Got to Be NC Festival proved a big success with an estimated 85,000 attending the three-day event. I am proud so many people came out to see examples of our agricultural past and present.
Based on what I saw, people seemed to be enjoying themselves, whether they were looking at antique tractors and farm equipment, strolling through the Fiber Fair in the Holshouser Building, or sampling North Carolina food products at the Food Expo. The Pig Jig, which was a fundraising competition between Masonic lodges, was so popular with visitors that organizers sold out of barbecue before 2 p.m. The good news was the proceeds from ticket sales went to support the Masonic Home for Children and the Central Children’s Home, both in Oxford. So the sell-out translated into $8,000 being raised for the homes, the largest fundraising collaboration in the history of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons and the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons.
A total of 15 teams competed and the Prince Hall District No. 27 Lodge from Greensboro was crowned the winner. Second-place honors went to Pierce Hall Lodge No. 606 of Catawba and third place was Lodge No. 598 of Stony Point. The William T. Bain Lodge No. 231 of Raleigh earned the team spirit award, and the people’s choice award went to Salem Lodge No. 289 of Winston-Salem.
More than 1,000 pieces of antique tractors and equipment were on display during the festival, which was quite a sight. As a tractor enthusiast myself and a big fan of these machines, it was great seeing such a strong turnout of participants.
All the major tractor brand names were represented along with some more rare brands. Trophies were presented and the following were winners: Best of Show, Original Condition: Ken and Patti Eder of Carthage, 1913 Case; Best of Show, Prior to 1930: Larry McDowell of Denton, 1920 Moline Universal Model D; Best of Show, 1930-49: Eric Hutchinson of Cleveland, 1939 John Deere Model A; Best of Show, 1950-60: Howard Wall of Ararat, 1955 300 Farmall H; Best of Show, Overall: Larry Elkins of Chapel Hill, 1959 Farmall 560 LP.
The festival also featured a bluegrass competition in the Flower Show area of the fairgrounds. It was a great, shady place to hear good bluegrass music.
Buttermilk Creek of Elon took home the top honors, second place went to Sourwood Mountain of Franklinton and third-place honors went to Blue Lightning of Burlington.
We are already starting to make plans for 2010, and I will let you know when dates are confirmed.
I also wanted to provide a brief update on the budget situation regarding the Agricultural Review. When the House released its version of the budget, I was happy to see it included continued funding for the newspaper.
The budget is still a long way from being resolved and anything could happen, but I feel more optimistic about the paper’s future since neither the House nor Senate proposed discontinuing funding.
I appreciate all the calls and notes of support for the newspaper. It is nice knowing how much our readers enjoy this publication.