Three of Farm Bureau’s Hometown Heroes

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Shiloh Farm Ministry

Shiloh Farm MinistryWayne County Farm Bureau Members Jeff and Phyllis Turner had no idea how their daughter’s diagnosis of ADD would affect them. When their daughter went off to summer camp, she came home and all she could talk about were the horses. Inspired by her newfound focus, the Turners bought one horse. They were so impressed with the progress she made that a year later they had 30 horses. And so began Shiloh Farm Ministry, a nonprofit organization that helps children overcome emotional, mental and physical challenges. Their daughter has since grown up, attended college and is back on the farm as the program director. Now, the farm sees up to 30 kids a day being healed through the power of animals. “It’s amazing to see how the kids get in there and sit and hold a little puppy, and the love in that little animal is enough to change them,” Jeff Turner says. “We’ve seen children who were medicated be able to go off their medications, or reduce what they were taking. And children who couldn’t deal with emotional trauma learn how to express themselves.”

Turner recalls a particularly touching story of a boy who had found his deceased mother. “We overheard him crying and telling this horse about how he had found his mother dead,” Turner says. “He wasn’t able to tell that to an adult, but he was able to get it out when talking to the horse.” The organization is operated entirely by the Turner family, volunteers and donations. “They truly give these kids everything they have,” says Phyllis Brown, a social worker who volunteers at the farm and also a mother who sends her children through their programs. “They work so hard to meet the needs of what they see out here. They even have kids that come off the buses with empty lunchboxes and they fill them.” “We are at the point where we need major funding,” Turner says. “We’re growing daily. We have the largest 4-H program in Wayne County and the only program in North Carolina that has the range of animals that we do. We work with social workers through the school system to bring in at-risk youth. We even get people who drive by and stop to see the animals and when they find out what we do, they know of someone we can help.”

The ministry also introduces children to faith and worship. “We’re able to reach people who wouldn’t set foot in a church,” Turner says. “If you come to the farm, you’re bound to learn something about Jesus. But we do it in a tactful way.” And it’s faith that keeps the Turner family going, even through the heartbreaking stories they hear from children coming to the farm and the financial challenges they face to keep the operation going. “The program absolutely seems to work,” Turner says, “but we don’t take any credit for it. It’s like God dumped this in our laps and said ‘run with it’—and we did.”

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1 Comment

  1. aurie elliott

    July 1, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    I work for Farm Bureau in the Charlotte office & I just read the article about your family & the wonderful things you are doing. I’ve always loved animals, especially horses & dogs & this story just warmed my heart. I would like an address for you so I could send money as I can for your great cause. Thank you for what you do. These children are so lucky to have caring people like yourselves helping them. God Bless You!

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