Lincoln County residents Alvin and Jeff Carpenter were recently presented with an award for their local efforts in conservation.
The Lincoln County Soil and Water Conservation District chose the father-son duo as its 2014 “Conservation Family Farm.”
For the Carpenter family, farming is a way of life.
“My dad was born in 1925,” Jeff Carpenter said. “They were cotton and dairy farmers. Eventually they incorporated beef cattle farming along with corn and vegetable crops.”
Today, Alvin works with his sons, Jeff, Stan and Eddy as well as his grandson Ben, to maintain their beef cattle farm.
“We bought this farm in 1993,” Jeff Carpenter said, referring to their award-winning farm on Parker Farm Road, the 140 acres of land split between Lincoln and Cleveland Counties.
This year, the men are currently caring for 125 adult cows and 103 calves, divided between their two farm properties.
“Every season of the year brings different priorities,” Carpenter said. “Year round, we have to feed them and give them water, and we always have to ensure our fences are secure. And then in the summer time, we’re rotating the cows from pasture to pasture for grazing. Come winter, it’s calving season…you never know what any one day may hold.”
According to its website, the North Carolina Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts’ Outstanding Conservation Farm Family award recognizes “farmer(s) and farm families who are actively taking the initiative to implement sound, innovative and cost-effective conservation techniques, and are actively involved in conservation education.”
The event is judged by subject matter experts from both federal and state agencies, North Carolina State University, farm organizations and association members, selecting area, regional and state-level recipients. Competition judging criteria includes the farm’s conservation activities, stewardship, community leadership, education and conservation knowledge. Evidence of effective conservation techniques is required to be available for review and must fall into soil resource management, water resource management or pollution impact management.
For Carpenter, his family’s farm has been quite successful in providing off-site water and proactively engaging in environmental conservation. He served as Catawba County’s Cooperative Extension Director for several years, before retiring in 2013.
“With my job, I’ve known quite a few farmers who have received this award over the years, and it’s just a real honor for me and my family to be considered in the same breath as them,” he said. “Farming is truly a commitment to the land, and better preparing the next generation of farmers.”
While farmers face several challenges and demanding hours, Carpenter loves his work.
“There’s something nice about being able to work outside and view God’s creation…to watch the sunrise and the sunset,” he said. “A lot of people have jobs where they don’t know if they truly accomplished anything that day. But, anytime you’re dealing with living things, you can see your physical accomplishments, whether it’s raising calves or selecting the heifers to go back in the herd. I just love to sit down on a quiet knoll with my family and count our blessings.”
The Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation district will honor the Carpenter family at an Annual Awards Banquet on Aug. 7. Those interested in learning more about the awards banquet should contact the Lincoln County Soil and Water Conservation District at (704)-736-8501.
“I encourage all farmers to keep in mind the multitude of Soil and Water District Programs available,” Carpenter said. “They’re such a hardworking staff, and they’re truly committed to helping county residents with their conservation efforts.”
For more information about the Outstanding Conservation Farm Family Program, visit www.ncagr.gov.