var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-16049511-2']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']); (function() { var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + ''; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })();

2013 North Carolina Small Farmer of the Year Named

Watauga County orchard farmer Bill Moretz is the 2013 North Carolina Small Farmer of the Year, an annual honor bestowed by The Cooperative Extension Program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Moretz, of Moretz Mountain Orchard in Boone, took over the family operation from his father in 1989 on the same land that the orchard was started by his grandfather. Moretz also grows a wide variety of vegetables and raises hens that produce high quality eggs. The Watauga County Cooperative Extension staff that nominated Moretz for the N.C. A&T honor say that the high-country farmer is: "very strategic about his business and marketing plans" and that he is on the "leading edge of many business and marketing innovations in recent years." Cooperative Extension experts help Moretz research and employ sustainability and business management practices for his farm.

The 27th Small Farmer-of-the-Year Award will be formally presented to Moretz at A&T on March 27, as part of a weeklong observance of activities recognizing farmers. The honor comes with $1,500, a specially monogrammed jacket and other prizes. Small Farms Week celebrates the producers of small-scale agriculture in North Carolina who generate $250,000 or less, annually, in gross sales. Activities for the week also include workshops, tours and demonstrations.

Courtesy ag dispatch is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.