Bo Stone, co-owner of P&S Farms in Rowland, N.C., has been selected as one of nine finalists in the U.S. Farmer’s and Rancher’s Alliance Faces of Farming Competition, which is seeking national spokespersons.
The announcement was made at USFRA’s annual meeting and the New York Food Dialogues held in New York City. More than 120 contestants from around the country entered the contest.
Stone farms in Robeson County.
P & S Farms is owned jointly by Bo, his wife Missy, and his parents. They grow 2,300 acres of row crops (corn, wheat and soybeans).
They also have six swine finishing floors on contract (approximately 10,000 hogs annually) and have 60 brood cows.
They also grow 2.5 acres of strawberries and 4 acres of sweet corn that are sold at their own roadside market. Bo represents the sixth generation to farm some of their land.
He will now go on to compete for a spot as one of the USFRA’s national spokespersons who will represent U.S. agriculture during 2013.
Another finalist from the Southeast is Eric McClam of Columbia, S.C.
McClam is co-founder and owner of City Roots. This 3.5-acre farm in South Carolina includes approximately 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables, bees (not only for honey but for pollination), chickens (not only for eggs but for the fertility they add to the soil).
The farm does extensive crop rotations, cover cropping, and composting for soil fertility and pest management.
It produces microgreens year round, grows culinary mushrooms, and operates an aquaponic system which is the combination of aquaculture, the production of commercial fish (tilapia), and hydroponics.
Will Gilmer of Slligent Ala., is a third finalist in the competition.
Will and his father own/operate a dairy farm in Lamar County, Ala. The dairy has been in continuous operation since Will’s grandfather established it on his parents' farm in the early 1950s. They currently milk 200 Holstein cows and raise their own replacement heifers, while managing 600 acres of land used for pasture and forage production.
Those forages include hay, summer silage crops, and small grains/ryegrass for both silage and strip-grazing.
The winners will be tapped to share stories and experiences on a national stage to help shift conversations about food production and set the record straight about the way we feed our nation.
“The nine candidates selected reflect the extent of diversity in agriculture across the nation,” says Bob Stallman, chairman of USFRA and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
“These exceptional farmers and ranchers can bring the reality of farming and ranching to the forefront for consumers, mainstream media and influencers to develop a relationship and learn more about how food gets from the farm or ranch to their plates.”
Consumers, farmers and ranchers are asked to vote for who they believe best represents those across the country who work to bring food to the table. These votes will be factored into the decision to determine the Faces of Farming and Ranching.
In addition to the public vote, a panel of judges will interview and evaluate the finalists to help determine the winners of Faces of Farming and Ranching. Winners will be announced in early January 2013.
For more information on The Faces of Farming & Ranching program and to see footage from The Food Dialogues: New York, visit http://www.fooddialogues.com.