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Michael and Kassidy Carter of Bay Carter Farms in Broxton were selected as one of the 10 finalists to attend and present information about their farming operation and management practices at the National Outstanding Young Farmers (NOYF) Award Congress in Appleton, Wisconsin on Feb. 16-19, 2023. Despite the frigid cold temperatures, the Carters left the Congress rejuvenated with warmth and appreciation for the industry they are blessed to be a part of.
The NOYF Program is the oldest farmer recognition program in the United States whose purpose is to bring about a greater interest in the farmer and to foster better urban-rural relations through the understanding of the farmers’ endeavors, to develop a further appreciation for their contributions and achievements, and to inform the agribusiness community of the growing urban awareness of farmers’ importance and impact on America’s economy.
As the farmer’s business has changed, so has his or her involvement in the community. Today’s farmer has become an active citizen, participating in everything from local and state government to civic groups and charitable organizations. It is not only fitting that farmers be honored for their contributions and achievements—it is essential. This award has been established to recognize outstanding achievements in agriculture as well as community involvement.
National winners are determined based on personal contributions in the following categories: Progress in agricultural career (50%), Extent of soil and water conservation practices (25%), Contributions to the well-being of the community, state, and nation (25%).
Bay Carter Farms exemplifies each of these categories with their commitment to pass on their agricultural legacy to their son, Bay. Michael started farming at 15 years old with Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans to fund his farming operation. Currently Michael and Kassidy have expanded to 12 broiler houses with Pilgrims and grow cotton and peanuts on approximately 3600 acres in Coffee and surrounding counties. Bay Carter Farms is committed to conserving and protecting natural resources through various production practices. They utilize cover crops to build soil health, grid sample their crop land to provide adequate nutrients and utilize stackhouses to store their poultry litter. “We have a responsibility to protect and nurture the land we tend. The health of our land and soil is directly related to our health. If we neglect our health, we will jeopardize our future. Healthy land will result in a healthy and prosperous crop,” states Michael.
“Many consumers do not realize that farm operators cannot simply just manage their day to day operations concerning their farm. These operators have to be involved in civic and community activities to advocate for the industry we love,” states Kassidy. This is why they are involved in numerous civic and professional organizations. Kassidy serves on the Coffee County Chamber of Commerce Board and also serves as Public Relations Representative for Coffee County Young Farmers and Michael is currently serving as the Chapter President.
Through the NOYF Award Congress, Michael and Kassidy had the opportunity to hear from industry leaders such as Wisconsin's Alice in Dairyland, Taylor Schaefer and Thomas Thibodeau, a Leadership and Strength motivational speaker. They toured Lambeau Field, Wayside Dairy, the Wisconsin Agriculture Discovery Center, Keller Antique Tractor Museum, and Drumlin Goat Dairy.
“The NOYF Award Congress provided us to the opportunity to meet, interact and develop friendships with fellow producers across the United States. It was truly an honor to represent Georgia and share our involvement and production practices with others across the US. We look forward to attending the NOYF Award Congress again next year in Washington State,” states Kassidy.