Matt Gay Wins 2017 Achievement Award
As a fifth-generation farmer, Matt Gay has had a love of the land for as long as he can remember. “From the time I was old enough to pull weeds from the fields, my love for farming was ignited,” he says.
Gay, who now farms alongside his parents at Gay Farms in Walstonburg, is this year’s recipient of the N.C. Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher’s Agricultural Achievement Award.
Gay has not only been involved in farming his entire life, but also an extremely active member of North Carolina’s agricultural community. A member of FFA throughout high school, he attended the Farm Bureau’s Institute for Future Agricultural Leaders in 2000. He has served on the Greene County Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee since he was 18, has been the co-chair since 2007 and currently serves on the Greene County Farm Bureau’s board of directors.
On his family’s farm, Gay raises hogs and grows cotton, corn, soybeans, wheat, sweet potatoes, tobacco, seed wheat and seed soybeans, and in 2017 expanded to include watermelon and cantaloupes. He also invests in test plots with independent companies to learn more about different growing methods. Off the farm, he’s become an advocate for the commodities grown on the farm and shares the importance of agricultural with local leaders.
The Achievement Award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who have excelled in their operations and honed their leadership abilities to superiority. The contestants are evaluated on a combination of their farm’s operational growth and its financial progress, as well as leadership and participating in Farm Bureau and other organizations. Judges look for excellence in management, growth and scope of the enterprise and self-initiative.