Stone Represents Face of North Carolina Agriculture
Bo Stone and agriculture awards are included in the same breath many times nowadays.
Among the most recent accolades, the Robeson County Farm Bureau member and his family’s operation, P&S Farms in Rowland, received the award as the 2012 Conservation Farm Family of the Year for North Carolina from the N.C. Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
“We’ve undertaken many conservation practices over the years,” Stone says. “One of the first things we did when I came back to the farm in 1996 was to implement no-till farming. Several of my friends had been implementing it in the Piedmont and kept raving about how great it was for their soil, so I thought we’d try it here in the Coastal Plain.”
Along with that practice, the farm utilizes satellite technology and cutting-edge irrigation equipment to create ways of using only half as much water as was previously needed to produce high yields of corn and soybeans.
“We all know what a precious resource water is,” Stone says.
With several honors from North Carolina Farm Bureau already on the family mantle, Stone was one of nine national finalists in the Faces of Farming & Ranching Program developed by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance. USFRA identified nine finalists who all have the passion and desire to share more about how they grow and raise food. Consumers and other farmers and ranchers around the country were asked to vote online for their favorites to help choose who will be the winners.
USFRA says the winners will represent all farmers and ranchers and help encourage dialogues around food production questions. More importantly, according to Bob Stallman, chairman of USFRA and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, they will help set the record straight about the way our nation is fed.
“The nine candidates selected reflect the extent of diversity in agriculture across the nation,” Stallman says. “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.”
Stone says the main focus of his family’s farm is growing the next generation. He represents six generations of family farmers and has three children.
“I hope that our three children have the opportunity if they so desire to farm one day. If they choose to come back to this farm, I hope it’s even better than it is now. That’s not only our duty, but it’s the right thing to do,” Stone says.
Stone adds that there is a disconnection between farmers and families buying their food at a grocery store.
“Many of our consumers, they don’t know the practices that we do here on the farm. They don’t really understand what it takes to grow the food we eat. We have many consumers who don’t understand the environmental issues we do try to make better,” Stone says.
“I have more at stake than any consumer does because I have family that lives on this farm. I’m raising my children on this farm, and I’m not going to do anything that would harm them,” he adds.
Stone shared the one message he hopes is conveyed to consumers.
“We as farmers are doing all we can to make sure they have the most safe and best food supply of anywhere around. I think we’re doing that. We need to make sure consumers know we’re doing what we can to make sure we take care of what we’ve been given,” Stone says.