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Farm City Day joins business people and farmers

By Darrell Blackwelder
For the Salisbury Post
SALISBURY ó Rowan County producers took time from their busy farming chores and met with area businessmen to celebrate Farm City Day Nov. 18. The celebration, sponsored by the Salisbury Kiwanis Club, brings the business community and producers together to recognize the contributions made by their farming community.
The program was highlighted by four producers providing information on their operation with The Day in the Life of an Agricultural Producer. Amie Baudoin, of Morgan Ridge Winery, explained the process of vinifera wine grape production. David Correll of Red Barn Market presented information on his operation and how he prepared his plantings for local farmers markets, while Kim Starnes spoke about how he and his son Jason maintained a large commercial poultry operation. Darryl Corriher concluded the program with traditional crops, grain and corn production.
Over the past few years, agriculture in Rowan County has become a diversified industry, ranging from wine grapes to producing baby chicks. Agriculture is also big business, providing nearly $50 million in income to Rowan County.
As Corriher lamented, ěGrowers are blue collar one day and a white collar worker the next.î Marketing and determining a fickle market can be as challenging as weather or insects.
Growers are constantly watching both markets and trends to make smart business decisions. Growers are also constantly trying to better themselves with increased yields.
Another highlight of the program is the crop yields contest sponsored by the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce. The contest is a bit of fun to see how much growers can yield on an acre. But, more importantly, it provides growers the chance to see varieties and techniques they can implement to increase their own yields. Johnny and Brian Moore, field crop producers in western Rowan County, had the highest yield in both wheat and soybeans in 2010 with 83.7 and 79.2 bushels per acre, respectively.
Recognizing youth in agriculture is also an important part of Farm City Day. The 2011 Rowe McNeely Animal Science Award, sponsored by the Salisbury Kiwanis Club, went to Jacob Karriker for his outstanding work with livestock. The Jim Graham Junior Exhibitor award, a new youth award, sponsored by the Rowan County Fair Association, was presented to Jacob Watson.
Below are some Rowan County agricultural statistics you may find of interest.
There are approximately 983 farms in Rowan County.
The average farm size is 118 acres.
Harvested cropland acreage in Rowan County is 56,000 acres.
56 ó Average age of Rowan County producer.
119 ó Rowan County female producers.
Rowan County ranks eighth in the state for all cattle.
In 2010, Rowan County produced 19,000 acres of hay, 16,000 acres of soybeans and 7,000 acres of field corn.
Darrell Blackwelder is the County Extension Director with horticulture responsibilities with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Learn more about Cooperative Extension events and activities by calling 704-216-8970 Facebook or online at www.rowanextension.com

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