This February I attended the NC Dairy and Cattlemen’s Conference in Hickory, NC. This was a joint meeting of many of the local cattle associations, as well as many of the major beef and dairy producers across the state. Besides the amazing food that was served every meal at the conference, my favorite part was all of the great talks by veterinarians, industry leaders, and farmers themselves on the status of the industry in NC, and where we are headed from here.
I was glad to see a lot of opportunities for new farmers to discuss some of the challenges and rewards of becoming a new producer. In particular, I attended a panel discussion with two new dairy farmers who were roughly my age (late 20s to mid 30s) who had just joined the dairy industry within the last year. One producer was running a pasture-based Jersey herd, while the other was running a confinement-based Holstein herd. Their discussion highlighted the pros and cons of each management strategy, and hopefully convinced a few more farmers to switch to pasture-based to fully utilize North Carolina’s rich forage resources!
I also attended the meeting of the NC Forage and Grasslands Council in which they awarded the 2013 Environmental Stewardship Award to Beaver Creek Farm, owned by Mike and Jean Jones in Mt. Airy, NC. Mike Jones humbly accepted the award and led us on a photo tour of his farm–a beautiful beef cattle operation which reminded us that stewardship of the environment comes first, and its bonus is delicious beef.
What better way to close the evening during the social hour than a live performace by CEFS’s own Dr. Matt Poore of NCSU and his father, playing and singing real country blues with their own southwest twang. Hit it, boys!!