The N.C. Pork Conference's closing day Friday included presentations of awards to a Wayne County couple who raise crops, poultry and pigs, a farmer who has more than 5,600 hogs at his Nash County operation, a longstanding extension director and an industry leader in environmental protection.
Presented by the North Carolina Pork Council, the conference host, this year's award for Outstanding Pork Producer went to Bryant and Debbie Worley, who own a diversified farming operation in Wayne County that includes an eight-barn swine finishing unit on contract with Maxwell Foods.
The Worleys also oversee turkey production, soybeans, wheat, cotton, corn, hay and brood cows. Their farm is widely known for its strict attention to environmental concerns. The farm produces no-till soybeans, uses pine plantings to control erosion and relies on biodiesel fuel to operate equipment.
In 2010, the Worleys' farming operation was honored as "Farm Family of the Year" for North Carolina by the state's Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The Worleys were also named as a National Environmental Steward in 2010.
This year's choice for the state's Pork All American is Brandon Moore, who has operated a 5,600-head swine finishing facility since 1996 under contract with Murphy Family Farms. He has built a statewide reputation for his nutrient management; for the past 15 years, he has provided nutrient management services to other livestock farms with lagoons or holding ponds in surrounding counties.
Moore's Hog Farm in Nash County is an independent subcontractor for the CLEANEast Program to remove sludge from its lagoon and add additional acreage for application, installing and actively gathering and utilizing useful data. Moore has developed a neighbor program for pumping events that has assisted with farm and community relations.
Moore is currently vice president of the Nash County Farm Bureau, a member of his Local Area Watershed Advisory Committee and has recently been appointed to the Voluntary Agricultural District Study Committee in Nash County by the county commissioners.
The selections for Outstanding Pork Producer (for farmers more than 40 years old) and Pork All-American (awarded to farmers between the ages of 25 and 40) are based on contributions to the pork industry, family and community through good management and leadership ability. Any farm owner, operator, contract producer, manager or employee involved with the pork industry is eligible for the recognitions.
The Lois G. Britt Service Award was presented to Jerry Hardesty of Winston-Salem, who served as extension director in Currituck County for 23 years and in Forsyth County for another seven years. Following his retirement, Hardesty worked with the N.C. Pork Council as educational liaison and worked tirelessly in support of the state's food banks.
The North Carolina Pork Council established the Lois G. Britt Service Award in Lois Britt's memory to recognize those for whom service to the pork industry and North Carolina agriculture is a passion. The officers of NCPC serve as the nominating and selection committee for this honor.
The late Lois Britt of Mount Olive served 34 years with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, followed by 10 years work as an executive with Murphy Family Farms and Murphy-Brown LLC.
This year's Environmental Steward Award was presented Friday to Alan J. Parker and his family who run a 128-acre contract nursery farm in Sampson County with Prestage Farms, Inc. Parker, whose farm is in Autryville, is the nursery production manager for Prestage.
Called Century Farms, LLC, the Parker farm represents the newest and most advanced construction for farms of its type and meets the highest environmental standards for a farm of its size.
Originally constructed in the 1960s, the farm was converted to a sow facility in early 2011 and the existing buildings were almost completely recycled. All metal was recycled, all lumber was taken away for other uses and the concrete was crushed and used to cover the farm's roadways.
The Parker operation has been enrolled in the NC Wildlife "CURE" program and has worked closely with Ducks Unlimited to ensure the surrounding acreage remains undisturbed.
The NCPC Environmental Steward Award is a program to annually recognize a N.C. pork producer who excels in on-farm environmental stewardship. The NCPC Environmental Stewards program is similar to a national program; both the state and national programs focus on manure management, soil conservation, water conservation, wildlife habitat, air quality and public relations.