Growing Leaders: Inside Leadership Union Agriculture Day

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On May 23, 2024, the N.C. Cooperative Extension – Union County Center hosted the Union County Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Union Agriculture Day. The mission of Leadership Union is to “develop and foster leaders in Union County – providing education about community strengths and opportunities, and to encourage community stewardship.” This day dedicated to agriculture aimed to highlight the various forms of agricultural production in the county and their economic value.

Participants listening to speaker in wheat field

Field Crops Agent, Morgan Menaker, talking to Leaders at wheat research plots.

The day began at the Union County Chamber of Commerce office, where Extension agents introduced themselves and shared insights about North Carolina agriculture. At the first farm stop, participants visited one of the county wheat research plots. The group learned about different wheat varieties and research being conducted at the plots by both the Cooperative Extension and NC State University, as well as how that research is shared with farmers to help them make better crop selections.

“As agricultural extension agents we often find ourselves immersed in our disciplines and the work we do with our “usual” clients,” said Morgan Menaker, Field Crops Agent. “It was great having the opportunity to talk about our small grains research site to members of the community who normally only see the finished products of agriculture.”

Participants viewing cattle under blue sky

Leaders learning about livestock operation at Fence Row Farms.

The next stop was at Peaceful Meadows Farm in Marshville, where owner Jeremy Brooks discussed his poultry, beef, and pork operations and his sales at the Union County Farmers Market. The group then gathered at the Ag Center to learn about the Master Gardeners’ work and urban forestry from Dr. Keith O’Herrin. At Fence Row Farms, leaders observed hay baling and livestock operations before heading to Panoramic Farm for a tour with owner David Hyatt, focusing on horticulture in Union County.

This day fostered a deeper understanding and appreciation of local agricultural practices, furthering Leadership Union’s mission to educate and develop community leaders dedicated to stewardship and growth.

Written by: Ashlin Austin, Union County Intern