Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee
Candice and Jacob Morgan

Jacob and Candice live in the small, eastern NC town of Trenton in Jones County. Jacob graduated from NC State University in 2007 with a degree in Agronomy. In 2014, he graduated with his Master's degree, also from NC State University, in Extension Education. He currently works for NC State Extension and farms on the side. Candice graduated from Meredith College in 2007 with a degree in Psychology and Elementary Education. She received her Master's degree in Special Education from East Carolina University in 2012. Candice teaches Chinese students how to speak English online and stays home with their daughter, Ella Paityn and son, Judah.

Neither Jacob nor Candice grew up on a farm, though Jacob grew up in the small town of Winterville and scouted cotton and tobacco through high school. Candice, on the other hand, was raised on an "asphalt farm" in Cary, NC. After they got married in 2009, they moved to Vanceboro where Jacob's dream of farming started to become a reality. Morgan Meats began when one of Jacob's farmers through Extension gave him a pig, which he hauled home in a dog box in the back of his truck. With absolutely no forethought having gone into this scenario, they scrambled to create somewhere for this pig to go. It's worth mentioning that they lived in a neighborhood....with a Home Owner's Association! After the first pig, they got two more…then three...then four. Then, they decided that their neighborhood setup was no longer going to be conducive to their needs. So, Jacob and Candice sold their house in 2013 (a little more quickly than expected) and began the hunt for land.

Five years after the conception of Morgan Meats, they purchased 12 acres of land, built a home, and grow about 50 pigs a year. One of their goals is to build the farm debt free, which seems to be synonymous for slow. They currently sell at two Farmers Markets, two grocery stores, two restaurants, and to a CSA out of Raleigh.

John and Liza Layton

John and Liza Layton live in Chowan County, where both were born and raised in families connected to agriculture. They met in the summer of 2013 and were married in December 2016.

John was born into a farming family and is a sixth generation farmer. He now farms alongside his dad, Johnny and grandfather, Sherlon on the sandy lands of Rocky Hock, NC. Their operation includes 1,500 acres of cotton, peanuts, wheat, milo, and clary sage. John is a 2010 graduate of NC State University with a degree in Agriculture Business Management. John serves on the Chowan County Agriculture Extension Advisory Council.

Liza graduated from Elon University and is currently pursuing a dual master's program in Public Health and Environmental Health at East Carolina University. She works in community health at Vidant Bertie and Vidant Chowan hospitals. No stranger to agriculture, Liza's family has owned Edenton Tractor and Implement Company for nearly 50 years.

John and Liza are members of Edenton Baptist Church. In their spare time, they like to go to the beach, hang out with family and friends, and cheer on the Wolfpack. They enjoy spending time with their black lab, Rocky, who spends his days as "John's Farmhand."

Ryan and Leslie Askew

Ryan and Leslie Askew were married in October 2009 and now live in Jamesville, NC. They have a son, Caden, who is active in 4-H, Cub Scouts, and Farm League Baseball. They also welcomed a daughter, Emerson, in April of 2016.

Ryan is originally a Washington County resident and current chair of his county's YF&R chapter. He grew up and still works on his family's farm, Askew Farms and Nursery. Askew Farms currently tends 1500 acres, which consists of tobacco, peanuts, corn, wheat, and soybeans. They also operate a nursery, as well as, a landscape and garden gift shop. Ryan graduated from Beaufort County Community College in 2005 with a degree in Industrial Maintenance. Ryan worked for the NCDA&CS for 7 years, but has recently returned to the family farm and his own farm full time.

Leslie is an Insurance Agent with Washington County Farm Bureau. Leslie did not grow up on a farm, but being raised in rural Martin County has always given her an appreciation for the farming community. She is committed to providing the best service and support to local residents and ag community through her work with Farm Bureau.

Ryan and Leslie started their own farming operation, Eastern Ground Farms, in 2013. They currently farm 250 acres of corn and soybeans. They dream of growing their own farm operation and also continuing Askew Farms as a fourth generation farmer.

JR and Emily Odom

JR and Emily Odom are from Wayne County, and live and farm just outside of the town of Goldsboro. They have a son, James, and a daughter, Reese.

During high school, JR worked for another local farmer while building his own operation.

Emily graduated from East Carolina University in 2005 and came home to marry a farmer. In 2009 they planted their first strawberry crop and Odom Farming Company was born. In 2010 they purchased JR's family farm and they turned it into a 40 acre agritourism farm, including strawberries, a summer CSA program, sunflowers, and a pumpkin patch and corn maze. Emily handles the day-to- day operation of the farm while JR works as a crop adjuster for companies in North and South Carolina.

JR and Emily are co-chairs of their county Farm Bureau YF&R committee, and Emily serves as secretary of the women's committee. In 2012 she won the Outstanding Woman in Agriculture award from the Wayne County Community and Extension Association. JR is on the executive board of the Karl M Best Agriculture Leadership program and the advisory committee for the Sustainable Ag Program at Wayne Community.

Wade and AJ Stanaland

Wade and A.J. Stanaland reside in Bladenboro, a "one-stop-light town" in the heart of Southeastern North Carolina with their twins, Sawyer Jean and Weston. The Stanalands are both 5th generation farmers and proud North Carolina State graduates. A.J. was raised on a commercial cattle operation in Northwest and Wade grew up on a traditional row crop operation in Bladenboro.

Wade and A.J. currently raise corn, peanuts, soybeans, and occasionally cotton in Bladen, Brunswick and Columbus Counties. Aside from row crops, they operate an Angus Cattle herd as well as manage timberland raising Longleaf and Loblolly Pines. In 2014, A.J. and Wade partnered with AJ's parents and Wade's father to open a mining operation outside of Leland supplying Brunswick, Columbus and New Hanover counties with fill dirt, marl, sand and topsoil to meet the demands of the fast-paced development in the area.

Wade and A.J. enjoy being involved in Agriculture and enjoy promoting it when they can. A.J currently serves as the YF&R Chair for Brunswick County and holds a seat on their Farm Bureau Board. Wade is currently serving on the Executive Committee for the NC Peanut Growers Association as well as the Cotton Advisory Committee. He recently completed the two year Southern Peanut Growers Peanut Leadership Academy which brings growers, shellers, and processors together in order to explore the United States peanut industry.

Wade and A.J. enjoy spending time in Holden Beach, NC (when they aren't busy raising crops, cows and kids) where they enjoy fishing and boating. They also enjoy hunting, traveling, and spending time with Tatum and Barley, their Chocolate Lab and Boykin Spaniel.

Ryan and Marcy Beamon

Ryan Beamon is a graduate of NC State University with a degree in Ag business. Marcy Beamon is a graduate of NC A&T State University with a degree in agriculture education.

Ryan is a fourth generation farmer and farms alongside his father, Tommy, and older brother, Jason. Ryan and Marcy operate a row crop farm near Stantonsburg in Wilson County. Beamon Farms grows tobacco, soybeans, peanuts, sweet potatoes, coastal bermuda hay, and wheat. In addition to the row crops, they are a partner in Little Creek Produce, a sweet potato packaging and shipping company. Their potato crop is marketed, packed and shipped around the world from our facility.

The Beamon's are active members of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Fountain, NC. They have three small boys: Lane, Rhett, and Cole. In their spare time, the Beamon's enjoy anything outdoors that can be enjoyed with their boys, from hiking to hunting and fishing.

Kara and Peyton Holland

Peyton and Kara Holland live in the southeastern corner of Chatham County in the community of New Hill.

Kara's family has been in the animal feed and lawn/garden business for 25+ years. After building their feed business in Michigan, they sold their business to purchase Pittsboro Feed in Pittsboro, North Carolina. Shortly thereafter, Peyton & Kara met at the feed store while she was working and were married five years later!

Kara is a graduate of North Carolina State University with a B.S. in Agriculture Education with a concentration in animal science. She became an agricultural teacher and worked in the crop protection industry before going back to the family feed store. She is now the manager of their newest addition, Pittsboro Pet Supply. Peyton is a graduate of North Carolina State University with a B.S. in Business Management and Master's degrees in Global Innovation Management and Business Administration. He is currently the Executive Director for SkillsUSA North Carolina and is a youth motivational speaker/ leadership trainer. Peyton grew up raising pumpkins and gourds with his family, in addition to maintaining a large summer garden. When he is home from his travels he assists his father at the sawmill.

During their free time, Peyton enjoys traveling and working around their log home. Kara enjoys quilting and raising their small flock of laying hens. Both have been very involved in starting Chatham County's YF&R chapter and promoting career & technical education.

Benjamin Watts

Ben and Mariah Watts live in Rowan County. They have a son, Aiden and daughter, Aislinn.

Ben is the manager for the family owned Southern States store, LL Goodnight & Sons. Mariah is a CNA at the local hospital. Ben and his brother, Nathaniel, have 85 acres of fescue they square bale for the local horse industry. They have 12 brood cows located on 35 acres of pasture. Ben graduated from NC State in 2007.

The family enjoys spending time working on the farm. During the non-busy season they enjoy fishing and skiing. Ben is a deacon at their church.

Darius Jones

Living in the Bamboo community of Watauga County, Darius Jones works as the fifth generation family farmer. Over the years the Boone farm transitioned from dairy production to what is now home to registered Herefords and commercial angus operation. Growing up, Darius and his father worked together to raise commercial cattle. In 2010, Darius took the reins and transitioned the farm from commercial cow/calf to a purebred Hereford operation. He now owns and operates the business as Jones Boys Cattle Company.

Throughout high school, Darius was active in showing commercial and Hereford cattle. After his graduation in 2014, he attended college for a short time focusing on business management. Darius has been active in the state and local Cattleman's Associations, North Carolina Hereford Association, National Hereford Association and National Cattleman's Association. In 2016, he was named Watauga County Cattleman of the Year.

Darius enjoys spending his free time with family, friends, and his fiancé, Mara, who is currently attending NC State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Nathan and Anna Simpson

Nathan and Anna were married on September 19, 2015 and live in Shelby, NC.

Nathan graduated from high school in 2009, with a desire to farm. In 2011 he started his six house poultry farm with Case Farms. Anna graduated and is a vet assistant at Boulevard Animal Hospital in Shelby, NC. Nathan and Anna help Nathan's grandfather grow haylage for his cows and for public.

In their free time they enjoy bow hunting, fishing and just being on the farm together. In November of 2017, they introduced the newest thing on the farm: their son, River Troy Simpson.

Marty Wines

Marty Wines is a native of Buncombe County and lives on a fourth generation farm located 15 miles outside of Asheville in the small town of Leicester. On the family farm they raise beef cattle and sheep, while also mowing around 100 acres of hay.

Marty is a current student at AB Tech College majoring in business management also working two jobs, one in agriculture sales, and also in agriculture marketing selling local and global food products.

Marty became interested in the cattle and sheep industry at an early age on the family farm. He began showing at the age of 11 staring with market sheep while also raising and selling club lambs. After gaining experience with showing he decided to start showing market cattle. His biggest accomplishments were winning the breeding sheep show at the NC Mountain State fair and also winning the market steer show at the NC State fair in 2014.

Marty was a NC State FFA officer from 2014-2015 serving over 20,000 youth enrolled in agriculture education. He traveled over 60,000 miles speaking on agriculture, leadership, and youth development.

Marty plans to stay in the agricultural industry raising cattle and working with marketing to promote the industry. He looks forward to working with Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher program and promoting agriculture.

Trid Copeland

Sidney "Trid" Copeland III is from Windsor, NC and is a 5th generation farmer in Bertie County. From a young age, Trid has been involved with his family farm working alongside his father. They raise tobacco, sage, cotton, wheat and soybeans. He is a 2015 NCSU Ag Institute graduate.

Trid enjoys traveling with family, socializing with friends, studying history, raising animals and the outdoors. He is a member of St. Thomas Episcopal.

Trid is happy to be a part of the Young Farmer and Rancher Community.

Austin & Maecy

Austin & Maecy Douglas live in Washington, NC. They were married in 2013 at the shop of the Douglas farming operation. Austin is a loving stepfather to Maecy's son Garrett. Austin was born and raised in Beaufort County and is a 4th generation farmer for Douglas Farms. Austin farms alongside his father Timmy, where they tend 1300 acres of soybeans, wheat, corn, tobacco and also raise Angus beef cattle.

Maecy was not raised on a farm but has quickly grown to appreciate and love the agricultural field. Maecy is a 2005 graduate from East Carolina University with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Business Administration and works at Vidant Health as a Risk Analyst, but hopes to one day join Austin on the family's farm.

Austin currently serves as the YF&R Chair for Beaufort County. He is also a board member of the Beaufort County Farm Bureau. Maecy serves with Austin as the YF&R Secretary for Beaufort County. They enjoy spending time with family, helping Garrett with raising livestock for 4-H and family vacations in the off season. Even though tobacco season can be complicated and stressful, it is their favorite because Maecy and Garrett get to lend a hand in the field.

Brandon & Jessica Batten

Brandon and Jessica Batten live in Johnston County in the Bentonville community. Brandon is a sixth-generation farmer and the third generation on his family's operation where he farms with his father and uncle as Triple B Farms, Inc. Brandon and his family produce tobacco, wheat, rye, soybeans, corn, and hay on 600 acres. They also have around 50 Angus cross beef cattle. Brandon has been part of the farm all his life, shadowing his father and grandfather from a very young age. In addition to the farm, Brandon recently started a drone business, Flying Farmer LLC, offering drone imaging and analysis services to other farmers.

Brandon is a graduate of NC State University with a BS in Biological and Agricultural Engineering (2008) and a Master's Degree in Agricultural Engineering (2010). Brandon and Jessica met while attending NC State where Jessica also earned a BS in Biological and Agricultural Engineering with a concentration in Environmental Engineering (2010). Jessica is originally from Fayetteville, NC and currently works for the City of Fayetteville as an Engineer.

Brandon and Jessica are members of the Johnston County Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher group and attend Pauline Baptist Church. Brandon is also a member of the Strickland Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department where he has served in various officer positions.

Brandon and Jessica have a son, Camden. He loves spending time on the farm and riding in the tractors and combine. They enjoy traveling and spending time together outdoors with their two dogs.

David Thomas

David L. Thomas is from Timberlake, North Carolina which is located in Person County. His family grows tobacco, soybeans, corn, wheat, and operates an independent farrow to finish hog farm.

In 2014 David received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration: Agribusiness from the University of Mount Olive, where he was active in Collegiate FFA and Collegiate Young Farmers and Ranchers.

Still living on his family farm, David also works with U.S. Tobacco Cooperative in leaf procurement.

Nick Barber

Nick Barber grew up in the close nit community of Jacobs Creek in the southern area of Rockingham County, North Carolina. Growing up Nick worked on surrounding tobacco farms within the community. He is currently employed by Carolina Environmental as a Heavy Equipment Operator. Aside from being an active member of the county Young Farmer & Rancher Committee, Nick is a member of the Duck's Unlimited where he is an avid supporter of conserving the wetlands and waterfowl in North Carolina. Nick is also a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans where he periodically participates in civil war reenactments. Nick is in the process of building a home on the family farm where he plans to begin a farm of his own. In his spare time he enjoys hunting, fishing, and hanging out with friends.

Holly & Justin Miller

Justin and Holly Miller are both generational farmers from Davie County. After high school, they attended college and pursued other careers. They always dreamed of farming on their own, and wanted to raise their children on a farm to help teach them work ethic and the joys of growing up on a farm. They were married in 2007 and have two young sons; Malachi and Eden.

In 2011 they had the opportunity to lease part of the fifth generation Miller family farm. First growing grain, then expanded into a variety of produce and strawberries. They attended and graduated from NC Farm School with NC Cooperative Extension in 2015. This helped them to learn more about the business and marketing side of farming. After earning their GAP certification in 2016 they began selling wholesale produce. They are also recipients of the 2018 Innovative Young Farmer of the Year Award by Farm Credit.

Justin and Holly sell their produce at local Farmers Markets, have a CSA program, a "You Pick" strawberry operation, and continue to expand their wholesale operation. They host 4H and JR Master Gardener groups out at the farm to learn more about farming and where their food comes from. Now they are buying the family farm and restoring the original Miller Family home place. They look forward to continuing to grow their operation and one day passing it on to their boys.

Outside the farm they are active in their church and enjoy spending time with their family at the beach, camping, hunting and fishing. Their core values consist of faith, family and farming.

Joshua & Mayghan Watson

Josh and Mayghan Watson live in Siloam, NC and were married in 2008. They have two daughters Lily and Ella. Josh grew up farming with his dad growing tobacco and raising cattle. In high school, Josh's Ag teacher encouraged him to grow vegetables. Josh planted his first acre of tomatoes between his junior and senior year of high school and realized that was where his passion in agriculture would be. Josh attended NC State University for Agribusiness Management and continued to grow his operation adding acreage each year.

Mayghan attended Lees-McRae College and obtained a Bachelor's degree in elementary education. She taught third grade for 4 years before deciding to stay home to raise their children and add an agritourism operation to their family farm which includes a corn maze, pick-your-own pumpkin patch, pizza farm, and various other educational activities for students and families.

Josh now raises around 70 acres of produce, including squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, broccoli, green beans, corn, okra, and pumpkins. In the summer, Mayghan operates a roadside stand at their farm and travels to local farmers' markets, and in the fall, the Watson's operate their agritourism operation hosting school field trips during the week and opening to the public on the weekends.

Josh is the chairperson for the Surry County Young Farmers and Ranchers group and serves on the advisory committee for the fruit and vegetable growers. Mayghan serves on the advisory committee for agritourism. Josh and Mayghan were selected as finalists for the Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award in 2017.

Russell & Tara Hedrick

Russell Hedrick is a first generation farmer that has a dedication to growing some of the finest grain and livestock in the Southeast. After forming JRH Grain Farms, his exceptional use of new technologies and cover crops led him to being awarded the NC Innovative Young Farmer of the Year by the NC Agriculture Commissioner, Steve Troxler in 2014. Russell has been a featured producer in the Farm Press Magazine for maximizing his cover crop benefits, National No-till Farmer for integration of cattle onto covers and The Haney test for reducing fertilizer inputs on cash crops. His operation has grown through hard work to nearly 800 acres. Russell's operation focuses on maximizing profits and direct consumer marketing for all their products, including corn, soybeans, wheat, barley, pasture beef and pork. He has recently partnered with Foothills Distillery, who is producing the first Bourbon in North Carolina since prohibition. Russell enjoys time on the farm with his daughter, Emmalynn, while teaching the next generation about regenerative agriculture and the value of hard work.

Jean Marie & Jerred Nix

Jean Marie and Jerred live in Henderson County. They got married in the summer of 2017 and have one daughter, Victoria. Jerred graduated from NC State in 2008. He farms full-time with his father growing about 120 acres of apples and plans to operate a packing house full-time by the end of 2018. He has been on the Henderson County Farm Bureau board since 2010, formed the YF&R Committee and sits as Chair as well as serving as Vice President of Henderson County Farm Bureau. He also has served on the Blue Ridge Apple grower board since 2009 and served as President for two years and is currently Vice President. This past year, Jerred was elected to the Henderson County Soil and Water board as a Supervisor.

Jean Marie is a Registered Nurse at a local Rehabilitation Hospital specialized in strokes and brain injuries. She is currently going back to further her education in nursing in hopes of being a Nurse Practitioner. She returned to her family farm in 2011 as a sixth-generation farmer of Henderson County and took over the operation after the passing of her father. They are currently transitioning a mainly wholesale farm into a retail farm market. Now partnering with her mother and Jerred, they mainly grow apples, peaches, plums, berries and seasonal vegetables.

Their daughter Victoria is a wonderful and carefree child. She is a good student academically, loves church and to dance. She has traveled with her dance group to participate in the Big Balloon Parade and Holiday Bowl half time show in San Diego, the Orange Bowl half time show in Miami, Carnival Cruise Ship Elation and Disney at World Market place. As a family, in our free time we enjoy spending time together vacationing at the beach, hunting, watching Jerred play music and attending the NFR in Las Vegas.