Director:
James Massey
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Physical Address:
Agricultural Building
2736 NC Highway 210
Smithfield, NC 27577
 
Mailing Address:
2736 NC Highway 210
Smithfield, NC 27577
 
Phone: 919-934-7156 ext: 3
Fax: 919-989-5659
2015 Soil and Water Conservation Awards

2015 Soil and Water Conservation Awards

 

The Johnston Soil and Water Conservation District recently recognized citizens who have contributed to natural resource conservation in the county. The 2015 Awardees are:

RIVER FRIENDLY FARMER – Ben Shields

 

Ben Shields, of In Good Heart Farm in Clayton, was recognized as the county’s River Friendly Farmer by the Johnston Soil and Water Conservation District. Ben, and his wife Patricia, operate a 6 acre organic farm where they grow produce. A variety of vegetables, strawberries and flowers are grown using methods that do not include GMO’s or genetically modified organisms. With assistance from USDA-NRCS, Ben installed a seasonal high tunnel that allows for the growing season of their crops to be extended during cold weather. They market their goods at the NC Farmers Market in Raleigh and restaurants such as ‘The Irregardless Café. They also offer a CSA, which is a ‘Community Supported Agriculture’ operation. A CSA is where a farmer produces seasonal crops for consumers who commit to a partnership with the producer.   Ben has a background in organic farming where he worked on seven different organic farms in Italy before settling in Johnston County. Ben and Patricia have a son, Elliot, who also participates in the farm chores.




CONSERVATION FARM FAMILY – Brian and Jason Worley



Brian and Jason Worley were recognized as Johnston County’s Conservation Farm Family by the Johnston Soil and Water Conservation District. The family farm, which is located in Princeton, has been in the Worley Family for over a hundred years. Brian and Jason’s father passed away at a young age and their uncle, Billy Worley, assisted with and continued the farming operation. The Worley family grows wheat, corn, rapeseed and strawberries. They use a practice called ‘no-till’ in planting their crops. No-till is when minimal soil disturbance occurs during the planting process. This can be done using a no-till drill or no-till chisel or blade.   The Worley’s utilize rapeseed as a winter cover crop and they no-till the seeds into the corn residue. This maximizes the soil’s water and nutrient holding capacity and prevents soil erosion. This also enhances their soil’s health. With Jason’s background in agriculture business management, Brian’s background in mechanical engineering, and Billy’s extensive farming experience, they all work together as both a team and a family in producing agricultural products for the community.

TREE FARMER OF THE YEAR – Dr. Frank Stallings and son, Donnie

 

The Johnston Soil and Water Conservation District recognized Dr. Frank Stallings as Johnston County’s Tree Farmer of the Year. A native of Smithfield, Dr. Stallings manages over 125 acres of woodland in the Cleveland community. With the help of his son, Donnie, they grow and manage for the long leaf pine production. Long leaf pine trees, the official NC State tree, were the predominate pine species in NC’s early history. They were harvested for their tar and pitch which were used in the naval stores as part of the shipping industry during the 1700’s and 1800’s.

The Stallings have 75 acres of long leaf pine which was established in the 1980’s and in 2012 to prevent erosion, protect water quality and provide wildlife habitat through the USDA Conservation Reserve Program. They manage their long leaf pines by controlled burns and by pine straw raking. The pine straw is raked into bales and sold to nurseries. Long leaf pine savannahs are a unique ecosystem which provide habitat to a variety of wildlife and endangered species.

Dr. Stallings and his wife of 61 years, Alice, live in Washington, NC where he practices pediatric medicine. Donnie, their son, resides in Johnston County and actively oversees their woodland operation.