Release date: 11/10/2016
STATESVILLE, NC – Carolina Farm Credit recently hosted winners of the Farm Credit Fresh Perspectives competition. 100 finalists were selected from across the country based on their efforts and leadership in shaping the future of agriculture.
At the luncheon, Carolina Farm Credit was able to honor the 5 finalists from Western and Central North Carolina with handmade plaques and a check for $1,000.
The five honorees in attendance were:
Maykia Xiong and her husband Jim are Carthage poultry farmers. Forced to flee her native Laos due to her father’s support for the CIA during the Vietnam War, the family journeyed to an interim refugee camp in Thailand and later immigrated to the U.S. Maykia and Jim currently operate a 12-house broiler operation and cattle farm. Maykia has become a great asset to other Hmong-American farmers in the area, and she has earned an appointment by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to the USDA Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Advisory Committee.
NC Choices and Director Sarah Blacklin from Durham have been known for their Carolina Meat Conference held every other year, but in 2012 a new idea was introduced. In 2013, the inaugural Women in Meat Conference was held as not only an educational opportunity, but also as a networking event for women leaders in agriculture. Now as an integral part of the NC Choices Meat Education Conference schedule, the conference draws women from twelve states and as far away as Nova Scotia.
Farmer and North Iredell High School agriculture teacher Bill Walker heads a program made up of more than 425 agriculture students and FFA members. Due in large part to the efforts of Bill and his staff, the school now offers 17 courses in Ag. Bill’s classroom mission is to prepare kids for the rapidly changing future of agriculture, which he believes cannot be done from books. He emphasizes training for the real world, while ensuring that students have fun along the way.
Dr. Blake Brown has spent his adult life working to improve the future of North Carolina agriculture with his leadership of the North Carolina Value Added Initiative, his economic policy analysis for peanuts, cotton and tobacco, and his direction of the NCSU Agricultural Leadership program. His policy work toward the 2004 Tobacco Buyout, which was worth approximately $12 billion to the region’s rural economies, has been widely praised.
Boonville, NC resident Neil Shore is the owner of Sanders Ridge Winery, Big Woods Zip Line, the Hearth Restaurant, and a USDA certified organic farm. After a lifetime as a tobacco farmer, Neil recognized that the tobacco industry was changing and proactively evolved and diversified his operation to not only support his family, but also his community. Located on property that has been in Neil’s family for 150 years, Sanders Ridge Vineyard employs more than 10 full time staff and 15 part time employees.
“These five honorees are a great example of North Carolina Agriculture, and the innovative and creative people working in the industry. Honoring them and the work that they do is just another way that Carolina Farm Credit can give back to our local communities and agriculture.” Said Vance Dalton, CEO, Carolina Farm Credit.
Carolina Farm Credit is a stockholder-owned cooperative providing financing to full and part-time farmers and agricultural-related businesses and also provides financing for the construction and purchase of homes in 54 counties through 32 branch offices. Other financial services available are credit life insurance, appraisal services, leasing programs and financial planning.
For 100 years Farm Credit has been supporting rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services.
Carolina Farm Credit serves over 9,200 members with loans outstanding totaling more than $1.4 billion. The association’s territory covers the western half of North Carolina, with branch offices located in Albemarle, Asheboro, Asheville, Boone, Browns Summit, Burnsville, Carthage, Concord, Conover, Ellerbe, Graham, Hendersonville, Jefferson, Lenoir, Lexington, Lincolnton, Monroe, Murphy, Pilot Mountain, Roxboro, Rural Hall, Salisbury, Shelby, Siler City, Sparta, Spindale, Statesville, Taylorsville, Waynesville, Wilkesboro, Yadkinville, and Yanceyville.
Carolina Farm Credit was recognized as a 2015 Best Employer in North Carolina. The list of the Best Employers in North Carolina was created by Business North Carolina, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) – NC State Council and Best Companies Group.
Directors for Carolina Farm Credit are L. Kim Starnes, Chairman, Salisbury; W. Rex Bell, Vice-Chairman, Statesville; John M. Barnard, Statesville; E. Bernard Beck, Seagrove; Mark A. Bray, Lawsonville; David M. Coltrane, Pleasant Garden; Susie J. Gambill, Sparta; Joseph A. Lail, Shelby; Clark M. Newlin, Haw River; Thomas E. Porter, Jr., Concord; Tony L. Ragan, Sanford; D. Kaleb Rathbone, Waynesville; Lewis E. Smith, Lincolnton; Vickie N. Smitherman, East Bend; Dr. Alton Thompson, Summerfield.
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