Annual Banquet Celebrates Conservation, Preservation
Conservation, preservation and a big birthday were celebrated at the recent Moore Soil and Water Conservation District annual awards banquet.
Trophies were presented to 17 winners of school poster, essay and public-speaking contests. A longtime district board member, Albert Troutman, was recognized for his service to the cause of conservation, and the conservation districts of North Carolina marked their 70th birthday.
About 150 attended the event at the Moore County Agriculture Center.
Awards were presented to the Lewin Blue family as Conservation Farm Family of the Year, to Kim Hyre as Environmental Educator of the Year, and to the Walthour-Moss Foundation as Environmental Steward of the Year.
Glenn Bradley, chairman of the new Voluntary Agriculture District (VAD) Board, encouraged support for this program established to protect and preserve farmland and farming. Bradley is a former chairman of the Moore County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors.
"The Voluntary Agriculture Districts will be good for the citizens of Moore County, whether you're a farmer or not," Bradley said.
Bradley called the VAD a vehicle to protect farmland from further encroachment by non-farming interests and other entities whose activities would have a negative impact.
"Among the objectives of the Land-Use Plan was keeping farmland for farming and forestland for forestry, and this is the aim of the Voluntary Agriculture Districts," he said.
Bradley said the United States is increasingly importing goods, rather than producing goods, and the agriculture districts are a step toward combating the problems faced in rural communities. He said that participating VAD farms will be able to post signs advising the public that the land is protected from non-farming development.
"That sign says, 'I'm a farmer, and I like my land,'" he said. "It informs the neighbors and potential buyers that the land is being used for farming and there will be the noise and the smell associated with farming. It tells you that you're going to smell them (farming odors) and you're going to hear them.
"I want my children to be educated in Moore County. I like living here. Moore County will remain a wonderful place to raise all of our children."
Lynn Sprague, chief of the District Program, state Division of Soil and Water Conservation (SWC), announced that Troutman has been inducted into the North Carolina Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Hall of Fame.
Troutman is a former chairman of the Moore SWC board and continues to serve as a board member. He chaired the N.C. Soil and Water Commission for a number of years and is a former president of the Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
Sprague called attention to the 70th anniversary of establishment of the first SWC district in North Carolina, which was also the first in the country.
"Now one of your own is being recognized, because he does a good job," Sprague said. "Albert Troutman does things because they need to be done."
Sprague recalled the year when Troutman drove his tractor through a field on his farm near Addor and carved out a conservation message in the crop rows. An aerial photograph of the crop message became a symbol of the conservation movement and was shown around the country.
"He's a farmer, a conservationist, a craftsman," Sprague said of Troutman.
Jonathan Russell, natural resources administrator for the district, presented the Conservation Farm Family award to Lewin, Tonya, Kendyl and Stacey Blue, whose farm operation utilizes innumerable conservation practices. The Blues also operate C&L Grading Inc.
Russell described a diverse farming enterprise that extends far beyond its cattle operation. The Blues produce half a million birds from five poultry houses in an average year and also raise 350 acres of soybeans in no-till fields. They utilize drystack and incinerator to handle poultry litter produced on the farm.
In addition, Lewin Blue is a sportsman who encourages wildlife habitat on his farm.
Alice Caviness, district administrative/education coordinator, presented the Environmental Educator award to Kim Hyre, a naturalist with Weymouth Woods Nature Preserve, who is generous with her time helping schools and the district.
Caviness welcomed a new team to the Environthon program and told of plans to enter the regional competition at Elon University in March. The newly-added sixth team is from the Christian Home Educators of the Sandhills.
District Conservationist Kevin Williams recognized the Walthour-Moss Foundation as the Environmental Steward of the Year. As part of its environmental program, the foundation manages land rich with such endangered species as the red-cockaded woodpecker, the northern pine snake and Sandhills pyxie moss.
Williams reported that the foundation conducted a controlled burn on 2,301 acres of forestland as a conservation measure to preserve the Sandhills longleaf pine ecosystem.
The foundation has also made improvements on a 95-acre forest stand, manages 26 acres of upland wildlife habitat, and offers public outreach meetings.
Richard Webb, foundation chairman, and Richard Moore, vice chairman, accepted the award on behalf of the foundation.
School Contest Winners
Troutman and Jeanette Fuller, district secretary, presented trophies to winners of the school contests. These winners are:
n Third-grade poster contest -- first place, Danielle Frye; second place, Kailee Southworth; third place, Evan Yeager, all of Sandhills Farm Life Elementary School.
n Fourth-grade poster -- first, Emily Arrigoni, Sandhills Farm Life; second, Keppen Doby, Sandhills Farm Life; third, Angela Gabriel, Aberdeen Elementary.
n Fifth-grade poster -- first, Shannen Burns, Sandhills Farm Life; second, Nikita Chintalapudi, Christian Home Educators of the Sandhills; third, Danielle Hardy, Sandhills Farm Life.
n Sixth-grade poster -- first, Lauren Lopez; second, Raley Carpenter; third, Danielle Lopez, all of West Pine Middle School.
n Sixth-grade essay -- first, Jeffrey Thompson, New Century Middle School; second, Miranda Freeman, West Pine Middle; third place, Zoe Harrison, Southern Pines Elementary.
n Seventh-grade public speaking -- Matthew Warner, Christian Home Educators.
n Eighth-grade public speaking -- Nainisha Chintalapudi, Christian Home Educators.
Jeffrey Thompson and Matthew Warner delivered their prize winning essay and public speaking address for the gathering.
Two winners, Nainisha Chintalapudi and Nikita Chintalapudi, were not present to accept their trophies because they are on a trip to India.
Nowell Brown, chairman of the Moore County SWC District Board, reported that about 700 students entered the contests this year. He thanked the judges and recognized special guests. Board member Larry Holder gave the invocation before the catered dinner of steak and chicken was served.
Sponsoring the banquet were Wal-Mart, Hobbs, Upchurch & Associates, Moore County Farm Bureau, First Bank of Robbins and Vass, RBC Centura Bank of Carthage, Henderson Forestry of Asheboro, Riddle Equipment Company and Carolina Farm Credit.
Larry Holder and fellow board member Billy Maness closed the event with presentation of door prizes.
Florence Gilkeson can be reached at 947-4962 or by e-mail email@example.com.
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