Largely on his own, Thomas Porter, Jr., of Concord, N.C., has built an impressive livestock farm featuring beef cattle, hogs and chickens.

He also gives back to the agricultural community by serving in leadership positions in a host of farm organizations.

As a result of his success as a livestock and poultry producer, Porter has been selected as the 2011 North Carolina winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award. Porter now joins eight other state winners from the Southeast as finalists for the award.

The overall winner will be announced on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at the Sunbelt Ag Expo farm show in Moultrie, Ga. Porter was also selected as state winner of the award in 2006.

His farm includes 850 acres with 270 acres of rented land and 580 acres of owned land.

He’s growing Matua bromegrass. This forage produces earlier in the spring and later in the fall than tall fescue.

His 110 acres of Matua yield about six tons per acre when irrigated with hog lagoon effluent. He also grows fescue-clover hay on 436 acres yielding up to five tons per acre, and his fescue-oats forage mix yields six tons per acre from 105 acres.

He has fescue-clover stands on 110 pasture acres, and he planted 25 acres of Laredo, a seeded bermudagrass variety. “We wanted a warm season grass to utilize animal waste,” he adds.

Last year, his swine operation had 2,200 sows that produced 23.5 pigs per sow per year. Pigs leave his farm when weaned at 21 days of age.

He grows the swine under contract with Murphy-Brown. “We’re paid on a per head basis for weaned pigs,” he explains.