It is tradition for the Johnston County Farm-City Week Committee to hold a banquet each year to celebrate agriculture and agribusiness in Johnston County. Agriculture and the greater agribusiness industry are part of a tremendous partnership that adds roughly $578 million annually to the local economy. The 2010 banquet was held on November 22nd at the Johnston County Agricultural Center Auditorium. Ray Starling, General Counsel of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, was the speaker for the banquet that was sponsored by several local financial institutions and agribusinesses. Each year the Johnston County Farm-City Week committee recognizes families from the county that have made significant contributions to the local agricultural economy through either agribusiness or farming. This year, the committee recognized the George Massengill Family of Blackmon’s Crossroads and the Eldridge & Anthony Westbrook Family of Bentonville at the banquet.
The Massengill family has a long history of providing valuable service to local farmers and families by operating Hill Top Farms Service Center in the Blackmon’s Crossroads Community. George Massengill wanted to be able to operate his own farm as well as provide other local farmers with a dependable, local source for their supplies. Massengill’s Hill Top Farms Service Center has grown into a business that supplies customers and local farmers with seeds, feeds, garden needs, fertilizers, lime, chemicals, and custom application services. He strives to use the very latest in equipment and techniques to better serve farmers. Just last year, he added GPS for mapping and soil sampling and variable rate application. Over the years, he has added services and supplies to meet community needs. After repeated requests from local farmers, he added a tire service a few years ago. One of his favorite sayings is, “You cannot sell it if you don’t have it.” Therefore, Hill Top Farms Service Center strives to have an extensive variety of products to serve their customers’ needs.
Eldridge and Anthony Westbrook are the owners and operators of Westbrook Brothers Farms. They have not only maintained the farming operation that they inherited, but they have expanded it. In order to build a profitable business through the years, the Westbrook brothers realized they had to diversify their farm, while also remaining good stewards of the land. Currently they raise turkeys, swine and beef cattle, and produce crops of tobacco, wheat, rye, corn, soybeans and hay. They participate in several optional environmental programs in addition to those required to make sure that the land they farm today is safe and productive for their children and grandchildren to farm in the coming years.
Both Eldridge and Anthony are not only farmers. They are also very active and well-known citizens of their community. Both men have served on the Bentonville Volunteer Fire Department for many years. Eldridge served as the Fire Chief for twenty-five years. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors for Ag Carolina Financial and the Board of Trustees for Johnston Community College. They both give back to the community - that same community that gave them so much.
The Johnston County Farm-City Week Committee is proud to honor these families and their outstanding contributions to the farmers and consumers of Johnston County. These families exemplify what Farm-City Week is all about, the partnership that puts food on the tables of American families.
The George Massengill family (left to right, back row) are Mark & Deanna Lassiter, George & Diane Massengill, Wendy & George Massengill, Jr. and (front row) Annah Kate & Alexis Lassiter.
Eldridge & Anthony Westbrook (left to right) are Brian, Braeden, Paul & Paula Hunter; Eric, Mendy, Julia, Eldridge, Anthony & Susan Westbrook.