From the tractor
by Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
One of my favorite things to do as Commissioner of Agriculture is to get out on farms and meet with the families who produce the food and fiber we all depend on. In September, I had just such an opportunity at Rockin’ B Farm in the Randolph County town of Staley.
Rockin’ B is a multi-generational farm specializing in pasture-raised pork and graze-fed Santa Gertrudis beef. The farm was honored as the 2014 Outstanding Conservation Farm Family by the N.C. Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
Mickey and Shelly Bowman and their family are extremely deserving of this award. It’s great to see farms like Rockin’ B that have been able to make things work. It takes a lot of innovation, thinking outside the box and finding your niche to be successful, and that’s what the Bowmans have done.
They successfully transitioned their farm from poultry production to pork and cattle, and have even opened a specialty market for their products. They also have found that implementing best management practices and having an up-to-date conservation plan makes their farm more efficient, sustainable and profitable.
These things go hand in hand. I encourage more farmers to do like the Bowmans and work with local Natural Resources Conservation Service offices, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, regional agronomists and cooperative extension agents. All these resources are available to help farmers be more efficient and profitable.
As the Bowmans can attest, agriculture is hard work, but it’s also rewarding. It’s satisfying to know that you grow the food that feeds someone else. And with the world’s population continuing to grow rapidly, you are likely not just feeding your neighbors, you may be feeding people around the world.
Not only are we blessed with fertile land that provides food and jobs for our residents, but we are also blessed to live in a beautiful state.
We have the mountains in the west, rolling hills in the Piedmont and the spectacular coast. Across the state, we have open farmland and forestland that gives our state a lush, green feel. The bulk of this open space is privately held by farmers and landowners just like the Bowmans.
Farmers understand the importance of protecting the land and conserving water resources, because they rely on both for their livelihood.
Events such as the Conservation Farm Family Celebration give us a tremendous opportunity to talk about what agriculture means to each of us. They also give us a reason to honor the hard work and determination it takes to farm and earn a living from the land.