North Carolina Farm Bureau Announces Young Farmers & Ranchers Award Winners
North Carolina Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers program offers training and fellowship that guides those who will lead North Carolina agriculture into the future.
Their accomplishments are recognized, in part, through the Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award, which honors young farmers primarily involved in farming, and the Excellence in Agriculture Award, which honors young farmers who are involved in agriculture but whose primary income is generated off the farm. The award winners have been named.
North Carolina Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers program is for farmers ages 18 to 35. The winners of the 2014 Achievement Award and 2014 Excellence in Agriculture Award will be honored at North Carolina Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting, Dec. 8-10 in Greensboro.
The Achievement Award and Excellence in Agriculture winners will have the opportunity to represent the state in the national competition, held during the American Farm Bureau Annual Meeting, Jan. 11-14, 2014, in San Antonio.
ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNER
Jason Jones, 35, of Cove City, farms land that dates back to the 1850s in his family, and is a sixth-generation farmer. In 2012, the farm — where Jones and his family grow cotton, corn, soybeans and wheat and have brood and feeder calves — earned a Century Farm designation.
Jones has been working on the family farm since he was 9 years old, and he bought 54 acres of his own in 2003. After paying that off, Jones bought a 50-acre farm in 2011 and added another 58-acre farm in 2012. He also leases about 1,000 acres.
“From the time I was big enough to reach the clutch of the tractor, I was hooked on the agriculture lifestyle,” Jones says.
Jones says the family operation was focused solely on cotton when he went to work in 1998, but he has led the effort to diversify.
“The implementation of a crop rotation schedule and the use of precision farming have changed the farming operation into the well-rounded, productive farm that it is today,” he says.
In addition to his work as a farmer, Jones is known for providing fresh produce from his garden to members of his church and has 65 laying hens to provide eggs to his family and friends, too.
Jones is Craven County Farm Bureau president, and he serves on North Carolina Farm Bureau’s Cotton Advisory Committee. He is a former county commissioner, and is a deacon at Bethany Christian Church. In addition, he serves on the board of the New Bern-Craven County Rescue Squad.
Jones says his goals for the future include developing a farm transition plan that will allow him to leave a productive and efficient farm to his daughter. He also wants to create agritourism opportunities through the livestock part of his operation and expand by renting and buying more land.
EXCELLENCE IN AGRICULTURE AWARD WINNER
Jeff Broadaway, 32, of Monroe, is a large animal veterinarian and a partner in his parents’ cow/calf beef operation.
Broadaway says he spent much of his youth on his grandparents’ farm, and that’s where his interest in working with purebred cattle and dairy goats developed.
“The genetic aspect of production agriculture has always fascinated me and I look forward each year to planning matings and seeing the resulting offspring,” he says.
That interest carries over to his veterinary work, where he helps producers implement preventative programs and increase productivity through reproductive management and health protocols.
In addition to serving on North Carolina Farm Bureau’s Specialty Livestock Committee, Broadaway helps manage the Union County Performance Tested Bull Sale and coordinates truckloads of feeder calves for several Union County producers. He is Union County’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee chairman and serves on the county Board of Directors.
Broadaway is also a substitute teacher, which he says allows him to give students the whole picture of agriculture. Advocacy and reaching consumers are important to him, he says.
“We, as producers, must be on the offensive to make absolute sure that the correct information concerning our production practices, as well as the safety and nutritional value of our products, is portrayed to consumers,” he says. “We need to take the time to educate our extended families, neighbors, communities and legislators, all of which are consumers.”
Broadaway says a unified voice for agriculture and scientific advancements will be critical to agriculture in the next five years.
His goals over the next five years include assisting in the formation of an Agriculture Response Team in Union County and continuing in service to his church, Ebenezer Baptist Church, to cattle producers in and around Union County and to Farm Bureau at the state and county levels.