Joel Stroot Wins 2017 Excellence in Agriculture Award
Joel Stroot is a dentist by trade, but has grown up with the values of faith, family and farm instilled in him by his late father.
He is this year’s winner of the N.C. Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture Award, which recognizes those who are involved in agriculture but do not currently farm full-time. Participants are judged on their involvement in agribusiness, leadership roles, civic organizations and Farm Bureau.
Stroot grew up on a 200-acre apple farm and today lives on a 30-acre educational farm as a part-time farmer, where he gives tours to various groups to teach them about different farming methods and crops. He focuses on lots of different topics, from conservation efforts, demonstrating how to build soil in livestock pasture management to trellising techniques for a vineyard to hugelculture, or wood-core-gardening, which uses rotting logs as a mulch and wicking irrigation system.
“Farming is nothing new for me,” Stroot says. “My involvement in agriculture started as a kid when I got paid 25 cents an hour to fold strawberry boxes at a pick-your-own farm that my dad managed at the time.”
He was also active in FFA, 4-H and other agricultural education programs. Stroot says that his love of farming lines up with his other passions, including hunting, hiking and home-brewing beer with hops he grew himself.
He became a dentist after several mission trips that allowed him see how he could best help people. He connects dentistry with farming in several ways, including the hard work and passion both occupations require.
“As a dentist, I must be flexible and open to new technologies, and have required yearly continuing education to stay on top of an ever-changing world,” Stroot says. “The same principles apply to the agriculture industry.”