Member Profile: Reggie Askew
Askew, a third-generation farmer who has lived in Gates County all of his life, cultivates about 1,000 acres, growing corn, soybeans, cotton and wheat. He also maintains six chicken houses, raising broilers for Perdue.
Askew takes the litter that comes out of the chicken houses and spreads it on his farmland as fertilizer to grow crops.
“It’s a product that’s there and it goes back into the earth. Then we turn around and grow these corn and soybeans and Perdue uses that as a feed source for the chickens. It’s really like a recycling thing,” Askew says.
And the land in Gates County can be as diverse as what Askew maintains.
“We have some very good land here and we also have some marginal farmland and some poor farmland. I farm some of all three categories. In good years when you get plenty of rainfall, you’ll make a pretty good crop straight across the board,” Askew says.
Askew got into the chicken business in 2004, taking over the barns his father-in-law Murray Parker operated until three weeks before passing away.
Before then, Askew raised the grain crops along with a farrow-to-finish hog operation for 25 years. So for Askew, farming is about more than just corn or hogs or chickens. “Not all of my eggs are in one basket,” Askew says.
Askew also strives to help other farmers in the county. He’s been on the county Farm Bureau board for 10 years. “We have a very good board here in Gates County. Everybody has the mindset that they want the best for the county and strive for it. This county is not a very big county, but it does very well with Farm Bureau,” Askew says.
Askew has been married for 30 years to his wife, Annette, a fellow Gates County native. Their older son, Stuart, helps run the farm while younger son, Nick, is a student at N.C. State University majoring in horticulture. Are plans in place for the Askew family to make it four generations of farmers in Gates County?
“I’d love to see that happen. We all strive and want to see that the next generation does better. My hope is it continues on,” Askew says.