The awardees honored recently during the North Carolina pork industry’s annual conference include a young Bladen County farmer with a passion for agriculture and a Kenansville farmer who has been a tireless leader and volunteer in his hometown.
Presented by the North Carolina Pork Council (NCPC), the conference host at the Raleigh event, this year’s award for Outstanding Pork Producer went to Stephen Williamson Jr. of Kenansville who operates the Earth Right Farm where he produces weaned pigs for Murphy-Brown LLC and finishes hogs for both Murphy-Brown and Maxwell Foods.
Williamson, who serves on the Pork Council’s board of directors, is a Kenansville Town Board member, past president of the Duplin County Agribusiness Council, chairperson of the county’s Agribusiness Fair, chairman of the town’s Event Center advisory board and a member of the Kenansville Volunteer Fire Department.
Nominated by Jo Ann Stroud, the father of three is also active in the Kenansville Baptist Church, the Boy Scouts and is a member of the Duplin County Cattlemen’s Association.
Channing Gooden of Elizabethtown in Bladen County has been named 2013’s North Carolina Pork All-American. Gooden and his father run a farm that includes 16 swine finishing houses, four swine nursery houses, turkeys, commercial beef cattle, hay acreage, strawberries and sweet corn.
Nominated by Becky Spearman, Gooden gives presentations about life as a farmer to community groups in his region, works consistently with Cooperative Extension events, is a current member of the national Pork Leadership Institute class and has been a member of the N.C. Pork Council Board of Directors for the last three years.
Gooden has completed the LEADR program, won the N.C. Poultry Federation’s 2011 Environmental Runner-Up Award, is a member of the N.C. Cattlemen’s Association and is PQA-plus certified.
In accepting his award, Gooden commented, “There is a large group of people out there who deserve this award, maybe even more than I do.”
The selections for Outstanding Pork Producer (for farmers more than 40 years old and Pork All-American (awarded to farmers between the ages of 25 and 40) are based on contributions to the pork industry, family and community through good management and leadership ability. Any farmer owner, operator, contract producer, manager or employee involved with the pork industry is eligible for the recognitions.
The North Carolina Pork Council (NCPC) is the statewide organization chartered in 1962 to support producers and allied industry partners within the North Carolina pork industry. Today, the pork industry in the state includes more than 2,200 farms, about 46,000 full-time jobs and adds $9 billion to North Carolina’s economy.