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Long before he was old enough to do so, he yearned to drive a tractor or a truck, take care of animals, and understand how farm tools and equipment worked.
It was the beginning of a lifelong devotion to the land—land to which his grandfather and father dedicated their lives. My dad abandoned his own dream and came home to help out. Looking back, I guess his decision was pivotal in my life because it enabled me to grow up on the family farm and discover my true calling.
That calling would be put to the test when his father died in an automobile accident when Lamb was only sixteen. Lamb dug in his heels, worked all the hours God sent, and graduated high school. Inwhile still in college, Lamb had interned with a North Carolina company called Prestage Farms and learned about the various stages of pork production.
He realized quickly how drawn he was to the nursery operation. Offered a of positions upon graduation, his choice was to go with a local enterprise that would allow him to stay in Sampson County.
They are big enough to be a major industry player and yet small enough to call you by your name. So Lamb built a pig nursery farm on the same 75—acre tract in Clinton where he grew up. He and his family manage the nursery operation and grow corn, soybeans, millet, and Bermuda grass and raise a few cattle.
Over the years Lamb has constructed two swine barns to house his animals and purchased three new tractors and attachments. At the nursery barn, pigs are provided with ample ventilation and supplemental heat of approximately 82 degrees. There are approximately 3, pigs here at any given time.
Given our six-and-a-half cycles or turns per year, this amounts to around 20, pigs annually. The farm has 7 brood cows and 1 bull.
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Seven calves per year are raised to approximately lbs. In the early s, Bill Prestage, owner of Prestage Farms, perceived how the regulation trends in the industry were moving, so he decided to employ someone in the capacity of environmental specialist.
With his practical experience and educational background, Lamb was the perfect fit, and he assumed this full-time responsibility in I also deal with more than contract growers, assisting them with their compliance, irrigation calibration, and sludge surveys—roughly lagoons. All this activity has given me a deeper understanding of how to improve my own operation. Lamb Family Farms is a team effort that has happily evolved over time.
Dating a farmer!
James met his future wife, Felicia, while the two were attending Union High School and started dating at the tender ages of sixteen and seventeen. With aspirations to go to law school, Felicia enrolled in Campbell University but ended up becoming a teacher, first for eighth graders, then fourth graders. She went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in reading and now works as a Reading Specialist with second graders at Union Elementary in Clinton. Daughters Maegan and Kinsley came along in and respectively.
Maegan has finished her freshman year at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, majoring in pharmacy studies. In his role as the environment specialist for Prestage Farms, Lamb enforces a Carolina biosecurity program at the nursery including air filtration to prevent airborne diseases, mandatory farmer procedures for farm personnel, and disposable boots and coveralls for farm visitors. Pest dating programs ensure the reduction of insects, rodents, and wild animals.
If animals require treatment, they are subject to FDA withdrawal periods and treated by a veterinarian. The farm maintains certifications with Pork Quality Assurance, affirming its commitment to implementing best practices. Not to mention those morning and night-time walking inspections by James and his mom, Thelma.
The reality is, legally, nobody can use growth-promoting hormones in the United States when raising hogs. Farmers are only 2 percent of the population that feeds percent of the country. He sponsors youth and intern programs, attends career fairs, and gives educational guidance and talks to students about opportunities in agriculture.
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Not too long ago he was chosen to be the voice of agriculture in a conversation with President Trump at the White House. They purposefully underscore my passion for agriculture. On a daily basis we blend new technology with years of growing experience. Although infrequent, when the chance for leisure arises, the Lamb family likes to get away to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Back at home, I like to do some small game dove, duck, and rabbit hunting during the season and take my mama fishing at a nearby saltwater lake at least twice a year.
Not too far from the house some friends own the Coharie Shooting Club, a wilderness-type setting for a thirteen-station clay throw course.
There we ride around on golf carts and shoot clay birds. Getting some practice with the gauge helps me keep my aim sharp.
You can offset a bad weather year if your row crops or livestock prices are high. You can come back from a drought or a flood. But you are always at the mercy of the market.
A kind of bond forms naturally that people in cities often lack. Just living on a farm for me is therapeutic.
I also enjoy the tightknit group of producers and farmers in this area because we help and learn from each another. Break time was when you got to the end of the tobacco row, no matter how far away that was. If there was a storm brewing off the coast during harvest, we could run all night. Mother Nature always dictated the schedule.
James l. lamb north carolina farmer of the year
And she still does. James L. Massey Ferguson North America will provide each state winner with a gift package and the overall winner with the use of a Massey Ferguson tractor for a year or hours whichever comes first.
Swisher International, through its Swisher Sweets cigar brand, and the Sunbelt Expo are sponsoring the Southeastern Farmer of the Year awards for the 31st consecutive year. Search for:.