Big news, our farm has won a major award!

The big award. It's a family award so I didn't have the farm name put on it.
The big award. It’s a family award so I didn’t have the farm name put on it.

I’ve mentioned here before the work we’ve done in conjunction with Wake County Soil and Water Conservation.  We’ve enjoyed getting to know Dale, Teresa (and Teresa) and Matt with Wake County and NRCS. To be honest I had some trepidation the first time I did anything with them. The old “We’re from the government and we’re here to help” joke was rattling around in my head. In fact, that was actually my comment when we had our first meeting at the Keeping the Farm workshop taught that first year I attended.

However the experience has been very positive for us, and has allowed us to implement best practices that we would not otherwise have known about. The quick connect water lines we use for our mobile waterer have been fantastic. I think the grazing practices we have implemented from our own research have been a great for the folks at Soil and Water to see because we could show the before and after very clearly and first hand. After just two years on our current grazing program, Teresa Hice, our main contact with Soil and Water made arrangements for the Cattleman’s Association to have a meeting at our farm, something we were honored (and nervous) to do.

While we were hosting the Cattleman’s meeting, Teresa informed me that we had won the 2014 Conservation Farm Family Award by a unanimous vote. I didn’t know there was an award, I didn’t know we were in contention, and I didn’t know there had been a vote. I was a bit slack jawed when she told me and mumbled something about thanks. At least I hope I did. I went to the house later to tell SWMBO, who quickly rattled off about 5 questions I’d never thought to ask making me feel even dumber. Oh well, I’m just a cow herder, I can’t do everything.

This week, they had the awards ceremony and I took the entire family to the Farm Bureau building on Glenwood Avenue. I’d never been to the Farm Bureau building and had no idea it was so impressive. There were about 75 people in attendance including Elizabeth Gardner from WRAL, many local politicians, and of course our friends from Wake Soil and Water.

Elizabeth Gardner from WRAL
Elizabeth Gardner from WRAL, giving her award to a deserving group.

This was just half the room you see in the picture. It was an impressive group to get together and while we were just one of the people getting awards that night, it seemed we were the main event with our own slide show and the prime spot in the agenda. They had a lot of really wonderful things to say about us, and a slide show to accompany the speech. Wake Soil and Water graciously provided both to me so that you can see what everyone else saw.

The text of the speech given by Teresa Hice as we received our award is located here. The bold text is the prompt to advance to the next slide in the below slide deck.

The slide show that accompanied the speech is located here.

It’s humbling and kind of embarrassing to hear someone else describe you in such glowing terms. I don’t feel that we deserve all the accolades that we received, and I feel like we have so much more learn to be half as good as they said we were but it is very uplifting to have someone from the outside say they are proud of the work you are doing. And to have this recognition in front of your family, who all think dad is crazy, was a special treat.

We spend a lot of time giving tours and helping to educate people. Receiving this award was a wonderful recognition of the time and effort spent. Of course, eating one of my pork chops or steaks for dinner is its own reward!

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