2018-2019 Grant Projects
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- Tim was raised on a 3rd generation tobacco farm. Throughout high school and college he worked at the Raleigh Road Garden Center. After graduation, the opportunity arose for Tim to purchase the business in 2006. During the past 13 years he has transformed the business from solely plant sales to an agritourism establishment with a selection of livestock on the premises. The store offers local honey, house plants, trees, shrubs and seasonal décor. With the grant funds he constructed a picnic style shelter on the back of the property for instructional classes. They plan to offer hands on classes such as container gardening, bee keeping and wreath making.
- Cain farm is a century farm that grew tobacco in the past when Anne Cain was a child. Anne took over the farm in 1997 when her mother became ill. She began researching farm options, and eventually became the 9th licensed goat dairy in the state in 2003, making cheese. Her Chevre cheese has been well received at farmers markets, wineries and local customers. With the grant funds she plans to develop an agritourism business by opening the farm to visitors for goat watching, children’s animal and nature education, bird watching, sky watching, goat therapy, picnicking and foraging.
- H&H Farms manages approximately 120 acres of land. They grow wheat, corn, soybeans, and pasture-raised pork. They are an Animal Welfare Approved and Non-GMO Project Verified. They are selling their pork through the NC Natural Hog Growers Association to various markets in NC and VA. With the grant funds they plan to construct a meat storage and farm store from a 20 foot by 40 foot metal car shelter, and purchase freezing equipment.
- Robert and Lindsey Poe purchased the farm in 2014. Their first venture was pasture raised chicken. They amended the soil, put up fences, built movable chicken tractors, built shelters and obtained Great Pyrenees Livestock Guardian Dogs to protect the flock. Their first customers were neighbors but the word quickly spread, and they were accepted into the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market where their customer base continues to grow. Currently, they are processing the chickens outdoors under a tent but the weather is not always ideal. With the grand funds they will build a permanent processing and packaging area.
- The Honeycutt family farm was established in 1932 with tobacco being the main crop. It was grown on the farm until the buyout in early 2000’s. Curt’s farm operation includes 500 acres of row crops, 100 acres of pasture land, with approximately 55 brood cows. Curt is working to expand his cattle operation with locally grown beef. With the grant funds he is building a BQA low stress cattle handling facility, a feed bin, portable creep feeder to feed the steers and a waterer to provide clean water.
- Numerous farm families have diversified their farming operations by constructing poultry houses in hopes of providing a steady source of income. As a result, poultry growers are in need of assistance in disposing of waste in a timely and environmentally friendly manner. Gregory Rouse is a fifth generation farmer. Throughout his farming career Gregory operated applicators for waste, lime and fertilizer and he understand the importance of making sure spreading patterns are correct as well as applying the appropriate rate per acre. With the grant funds, Gregory purchased a spreader to distribute poultry and animal waste.
- The Steward Farm has been in production for ninety years and the newest member, currently 2.5 years old is just as excited about the cows as the rest of the family. From 1970 until 2000 David’s father raised tobacco along with wheat, oats, corn and hay. Each child was gifted a cow when they were born. When they were old enough the children took over the responsibility of caring for their cow including helping to raise the hay they needed for food. With his grant funds David will erect a hay storage facility. With the installation of this shelter the hay savings could lead to a surplus, and he could market the extra hay. Reducing or eliminating food contamination is the primary objective.
- The Westmorland family purchased 50 acres 14 years ago and built a cattle operation. They were selling them at market, but after their son completed an FFA project on “Growing and marketing beef cattle” they worked to obtain the NC Meat Handlers Certification and the USDA Grass Fed certification. Five years ago they diversified the operation to include sheep. With the grant award they will build a lambing barn and fence in a pasture for rotational grazing.
- Sullivan Farms is a family owned business that has been growing tobacco for over 30 years. They currently produce tobacco, sweet potatoes, cotton, soybeans, corn, wheat and beef cattle. In 2018 they earned their meat handlers’ license and began to sell retail cuts of beef at the local farmers market. With the grant funds they will purchase two glass fronted display freezers and expand their marketing with t-shirts and brochures.
- Roberts great-grandfather, grandfather, and father all grew tobacco but after the buyout the land was converted to pasture for cattle and hay operations. They currently run close to 40 head of registered Anus cattle. With the grant funds he plans to modify existing cattle facilities to better supply beef cattle to various market opportunities. They will purchase a 4.5 ton feed bin so he buy feed in bulk, and to pour a concrete pad for concrete feeders. They also plan to add automatic frost-free waterers in several parts of the pastures to help rotational and strip grazing.
- Chauncey Leggett is passionate about making a living from the farm and being a good steward of the land. With the grant funds he plans to install an irrigation system that will provide the crops with cleaner water and help them reach their goal to become GAP certified.
- Elliot and his wife Emma own and operate Fairshare Farm. They grow salad greens and niche vegetables in year-round in inexpensive, fast ROI hoop houses on 1.25 acres. They provide lettuce year-round to restaurants in Winston-Salem and Charlotte.Receiving the grant will help to fund the roll-out of the second phase of a three-year enterprise expansion. They plan to add ten more caterpillar tunnels doubling their production space.
- Charles Williamson grew up farming and says he had no choice but to fall in love with it. With the grant funds Charles will purchase and install an 8 x12 CoolBot Walk-in Cooler to expand the shelf life of their produce that is still grown on the farm.
- The Patterson farm has been in the family for four generations. Tobacco was the main crop until 1984, when they transitioned other row crops. Charles purchased the farm from his grandfather and sells produce at two farmers markets and hopes to expand their business to local restaurants in the Pittsboro area. With the grant funds he purchased a plastic mulch layer and planter.
- The Cameron family came to North Carolina from Scotland and has been farming in the Barbecue Creek community for more than 200 years. With tobacco contracts being cut shorter each year, they opted to convert some tobacco land to strawberries. They planted 1.5 acres of four different varieties. They hope to establish a U-pick operation and mobile stand. With the grant funds they purchased a 7 x 12 foot refrigerator mobile trailer with generator.
- After graduation from NC State, Kelvin returned to the farm to work alongside of his father. At the time they grew tobacco and wheat. But, as time passed Kelvin began to see the need to diversify. In the mid 80’s Kelvin built a greenhouse to grow vegetable transplants for the hardware store in Rockymount. That project grew into the Bass Plant Farm, a retail garden center on the farm that operates year round. They transitioned to an organic operation in 2012. With the grant funds they want to construct a cold storage facility that will enable them to further diversify and fill the market demand for locally grown organic produce.
- Krystal Tyndall says she married into the farming lifestyle. She and her husband operate an 800 acre family farm. The farm originally produced tobacco, cotton and a few small grains but after they took over the farm operation they incorporated other crops such as sweet potatoes, squash, watermelons, peppers, corn, wheat, soybeans and they are contract growers for Smithfield Foods. Krystal requested a grant to purchase an old mobile packing line that she found. She will use the funds for repairs and modifications. The line will be set-up their tobacco barn shelter.
- April married into a farming family, and after the birth of their son she decided to stay home and work on the farm. The farm had been a tobacco farm for generations, but two years ago, they saw that tobacco was rapidly declining, and they added strawberries and then expanded to include vegetables and hemp. They sell to the public on the roadside certified farm stand. With the grant award they will purchase irrigation equipment.
- Steve and Terri operate a small blueberry farm. In 2018 they participated in the Kitchen Connects GSO program to begin producing value-added products using fruits and vegetables raised on their farm. The products include jams, jellies, marmalades, reserves, pepper relish, pickled asparagus and salsa. But they have had a lot of customer interest in blackberry jam, and will use the grant funds to build the infrastructure needed to increase the number blackberry plants on the farm.
- This is Kyle Montgomery’s fourth official year of farming on land that his great-grandfather purchased for tobacco production over a century ago. Like many in his generation he maintained a large vegetable garden and kept chickens, cows, mules and horses but made his living from tobacco production. In the 1990’s family members moved off the land which was leased until the 2015 when Kyle began his revitalization project. With the grant funds Kyle will build a 30 x 50 nursery with energy-efficient features, which will allow him to grow healthier seedlings and maintain an emphasis on sustainable production methods.
- As a ninth generation farmer, sustainability is very important to the Scott Brothers. The family relies on tobacco production but felt it was vital to find a partner crop that will sustain the future. They planted the first crop of sweet potatoes in 2016, the year that Frank Scott graduated from NC State. With his academic work and experience he looks for ways to make the farm more efficient and push the production yield. With the grant funds he plans to purchase a vine shredder. Shredding the sweet potato vines before harvest forces the potato skins to tighten making them easier to flip when harvesting and reduces losses from packing and sorting.
- According to Claire Parrish of Heritage Harvest Farms, bees are experiencing an unsustainable drop in populations, causing alarm for crop farmers and local honey producers. Heritage Harvest Farm is a 7th generation restored NC Century Farm. They practice natural beekeeping methods with honey production being a key cornerstone of the farm. They are using the grant funds to purchase newly developed equipment that uses natural heat technology to disrupt the varroa mite destroyer’s & hive beetles life cycle. Bees can survive at higher temperatures than mites and beetles.
- Bobby J. Roberts (BJ) is a fifth generation farmer. Tobacco has supported the Roberts family for many years. He has two daughters working outside the farm but they would like to come back and work with Dad on the land. To generate additional income BJ is adding hemp production. With the grant funds BJ will build a hemp decorticator to corticate green hemp in the field.
- Joe Johnson believes that hemp is taking the place of tobacco. In February 2018 Joe received his license from the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission and soon after he started growing clones in a converted smoke house. With the grant funds he plans to convert a 36 x 300’ greenhouse normally used for tobacco plants into three 36’ x 100’hemp greenhouses. Two of the houses would be for in-ground clone vegetation and the third house would be for hydro floats.
- The William E. Byrd Family Limited Partnership is owned by 13 members of the family. It’s a tree farm set-up to generate income from timber sales. All the members love the farm and support efforts to make it more productive while keeping it visually pleasing. With the grant funds William and his son will be creating a 10 acre silvopasture, which is an innovative way of thinning trees in existing forest land so that both grass and trees can be grown at the same time. Once the forage grass under the trees is well established, cattle will be allowed to rotationally graze the established pastures. Cattle production will be a new enterprise for the farm.
- Doris and Donald Kidde dreamed of owning a farm to grow food and to raise their son. They purchased 15 acres of tobacco farm land in 1989 in the Shoe Heel district of northern Johnston County. They moved onto the farm in 1993. They are one of a handful of garlic farms in North Carolina and of a select few that grow elephant garlic which is a cross between leeks and garlic. They sell the entire crop each year but are not able to increase the amount of garlic because they need a larger facility for drying and storage. With the grant funds they built a 24×25 foot metal garlic barn on a concrete pad.
- Garret Wildflower Seed Farm, LLC has started transitioning a former tobacco farm into native wildflower and grass seed business. This includes re-purposing tobacco curing barns for seed drying and using former tobacco crop land for native seed production fields. His business is growing due to increase in customer demand, and the Seed farm operation could benefit from a more efficient system for growing, cleaning and packaging the seeds. With the grant funds Don purchased automated weighing and bagging equipment.
- Ben Byrd grows hand propagated pecan trees. He is one of two nurseries in the world to use the hot calousing method for pecan propagation. It involves heated beds to force the graft union to heal. The process is time consuming and labor intensive. In his current 20 x 48 greenhouse he can produce about 5000 trees per season. With the grant funds Ben will expand the greenhouse which will allow him to graft sooner and pot trees individually and expand his operation.
- Stesha and her husband Jeremy purchased 17.5 acres ten years ago and began planting the forests with long-term crops such as ginseng, ramps and other specialty plants. They planted the field with a variety of fruit and nut trees. But they have reached a point where they want to focus more extensively on mushrooms as they have found them to be one of their best sellers. With the grant funds they purchased two Weston 28 dehydration units and materials to construct a Coolbot cooler.
- The Tart farm has been around for many generations. John Tart III inherited the Pecan grove which sits on 100 acres and is one of the largest in North Carolina. With the grant funds John plans to build a barn to sort, process and store pecans and pecan products. The new sealed, concrete flooring will enable John to meet or exceed safe food standards, and the facility will also be used to process honey.
- The McDaniel family has been farming since the mid 1700’s when they were granted a parcel of land from the King of England. On that same land, Peyton, his brother Billy and Cousin Phillip formed Hickory Meadows Organics in 2012. Four years ago, Hickory Meadows Organics started working on a project with NC State University and RAFI-USA doing on-farm research to help identify varieties of soybeans and corn that not only worked well in the Southeast but also performed well in organic conditions. This led to the release of three new non-GMO varieties of soybeans and a farmer bred double-cross corn variety by NC State University. With the grant funds Hickory Meadows Organics will purchase a seed cleaner to produce these lines of corn and soybean seed for other farmers in the Southeast.
- Tobacco was the backbone of the Britt farm for more than 85 years. In 1993 they took the settlement offer but continue to grow tobacco seedling plants in the greenhouse for other farmers. That same year they planted pecan trees and started the Carolina Nut Cracker operation. With the NC AgVentures grant they plan to purchase equipment and made modification to a tobacco barn to house a pellet machine and hammer mill so that they can grind the pecan hulls and make pellets out of the shells that can be used for heating or grilling.
- Pitt County Community Grant
(Leigh Guth, Pitt County Extension Director)
- The Leroy James Farmers Market is operated by Pitt County Government. In the past four years, it has experienced a renewal with upgrades to the building including an expansion funded through county government and a local foundation grants. During the 2017 market season 826 vendors participated. The market accepts SNAP/EBT and many vendors accept WIC vouchers. The manager and vendors are seeing more opportunities to expand into a market box subscription service for customers. They are working on an electronic payment and computer capacity to enable online orders and payments. With the grant funds they purchased coolers to hold the market boxes which are assembled from products from multiple market vendors.
- Pitt, Wilson and Johnston Counties Community Grant
Agents Andy Burlingham, Jessica Anderson and Dan Wells
- The Got to Be NC Livestock Producer Marketing project is designed to be a new marketing outlet for show animals born and raised in North Carolina. Right now young people searching for a quality animal to raise for exhibition, must call and visit each breeder to see what they have to offer. An auction setting gives young people and breeders a place to meet. The project would include special auction sales for heifers, lambs and goats. The grant funds will be used for promotion, advertising and other additional costs.
- Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Stokes, Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin County
Agent Tim Hambrick
Agriculture in this seven county region has been deeply depended on tobacco dollars for many years. As tobacco declines many growers move to grain yet they are often not prepared for all that grain demands. The short-term goal for this project is purchase a small corn planter to utilize for tests and demonstrations in the seven counties. They plan to outfit the planter to allow Agents to demonstrate latest technologies that can positively impact yield. The long-term goal is to develop and area specific database practices that positively affect yield in both corn and soybean production.