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• Porter’s farm includes 850 acres with 270 acres of rented land and 580 acres of owned land.
• Last year, his swine operation had 2,200 sows that produced an average of 23.5 pigs per sow.
• He’s growing Matua bromegrass.
• The poultry operation consists of four pullet houses and four layer houses.
• He built his beef herd from five cows. It now consists of 300 Hereford-Angus cows bred to Angus bulls.
NORTH CAROLINA FARMER of the Year Thomas Porter, Jr., third from left, was named the 2011 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Farmer of the Year during the 34th Expo, held Oct. 18-20 in Moultrie, Ga. Also shown are Expo Director Chip Blalock, Porter’s wife Vicky, and J. Thomas Ryan of Swisher International. Despite a difficult economic climate, the Expo drew 1,211 exhibitors this year.
On the state level, he chairs the Carolina Farm Credit board, serves on the Poultry Federation board and has been a Farm Bureau convention delegate.
Nationally, he represents poultry on an American Farm Bureau committee. His farm was also selected for an environmental management pilot project.
His wife Vicky is just as active. She’s a district supervisor in the Cabarrus County Soil and Water Conservation District, chairs the county’s Agricultural District board and is an advisor to the Farm Service Agency County Committee. On the state level, Vicky has been a member of the Soil and Water Conservation Commission and the North Carolina Ag Foundation.
In Farm Bureau, she is a graduate of a leadership program and has been a state convention delegate. She has also been active in American Farm Bureau’s Women’s Committee.
They have three grown children, all involved with the farm. Their son Derek is a firefighter who works at the farm on his days off. Their son Jared is a police officer and works at the farm on weekends. Jared’s wife Colleen manages the farm’s layer operation. Their daughter Erin is a recent college graduate who handles payroll for the farm.
“All of our income comes from the farm,” adds Porter. “We hope to expand our cattle herd and add two more pullet houses. We farm responsibly and have been good stewards of our natural resources. We work very hard and I feel blessed to have accomplished the goals I set out to achieve.”
This marks the 22nd Anniversary of Swisher International and the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition Southeastern Farmer of the Year Award.
Since its inception in 1990, the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year Award has evolved into the most prestigious honor in the Southeast and nation.
Ten states participate in the program: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
In the previous 21 years of the award, more than $843,000 has been awarded to state and overall winners. Each state winner receives $2,500 and an all expense paid trip to Expo along with various other prizes.
The overall Southeastern winner receives $15,000 and various other prizes from the sponsors.