2019 Leadership Montgomery Agriculture Day

— Written By Jamie Warner
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This year’s Leadership Montgomery class enjoyed the annual Agriculture Day on Thursday, March 14, 2019. They began the day by touring the Sandhills Research Station in Jackson Springs where they learned about the research that is being conducted on site and how that research improves the state of agriculture in North Carolina through the development of new crop varieties, planting and harvesting methods and more. Following the Research Station, the group traveled to Candor where they toured the Perdue Farms chicken hatchery. At the hatchery they saw the ins and outs of a multi-million dollar industry in NC. From the incubators, to hatching, vaccinating the chicks and loading the trucks for delivery to the farms, the class learned all about poultry and its importance to Montgomery County and North Carolina.

Perdue Chicken Hatchery Tour

Learning about the Perdue Chicken Hatchery and Biosecurity

After leaving the hatchery, the group visited Biscoe to meet with Joel Osten, owner and operator of O2 Energies and Sun Raised Foods. The Montgomery County Sheep Farm is one of a kind. It has over 500 head of sheep, grazing and mowing the grass for the 20 Megawatt solar farm on which they are located. The farm produced 99% of its own energy last year alone. While the sheep mow the grass, they produce valuable meat which is marketed by sunraisedfoods.com.

Solar Farm Tour

Joel Osten addresses the group in the middle of the Solar Farm.

A locally sourced lunch was prepared for the group by the Staff of Cooperative Extension and generously sponsored by Carolina Farm Credit and Montgomery County Farm Bureau. Mr. Todd King, President of Montgomery Farm Bureau, gave a brief report on the state of Agriculture in Montgomery County and spoke about what Farm Bureau does in our county as well as on the State and National levels. Melanie McLeod with Carolina Farm Credit also spoke during the lunch break about services offered to the farmers in Montgomery County.

Lunch and Sponsors

Top: Local Salad Spread at Lunch; Bottom Left: Todd King, President of Montgomery Farm Bureau; Bottom Right: Melanie McLeod, Carolina Farm Credit

After lunch, the crowd gathered at White Oak Farm, owned and operated by the Dunn Family of Biscoe. Here, they walked around the century-old, family farm while Gary Dunn spoke to the group about the business of farming, season extension and heirloom varieties of crops. White Oak Farm markets their produce at various Farmers Markets in the region and through their own CSA basket program. Leaving White Oak, the group headed East to Troy where they got the opportunity to tour Blue Q Cattle Ranch. Farm and Herd Manager, Mitchell Scheer greeted the group and provided a discussion on the Beef Cattle industry, beef cattle genetics and the ups and downs of the beef market.

White Oak Farm, Biscoe

Greenhouse at White Oak Farm

Blue Q Angus Ranch Tour

Top Left: A bull at Blue Q Ranch; Top Right: Mitchell Scheer, Farm Manager explains how to work the cattle chute; Bottom: Weaned calves.

After a long day of learning about Montgomery County Agriculture, the group returned to MCC to head home. A great time was had by all that participated.