FARMVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The Sutton Family of S&S Farms and Homeplace Strawberries has been awarded by the North Carolina Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts as the 2021 State Conservation Farm Family of the Year.
A family operation since its inception, S&S Farms produces 3.3 million chickens, 306 thousand pounds of tilapia, 1100 acres of corn, 1400 acres of soybeans, and 450 acres of wheat a year.
With such a high yield of services, comes an important dedication to how they can conserve the land they use for generations to come.
Current owner Steve Sutton says that he has always had conservation in mind since he began working on the farm with his predecessors.
“Conservation is a way of life. It’s not just a thing we practice year to year, but it’s a way of life,” he said.
“Many, many years ago, as a matter of fact about 25 years ago, we began to see the return on investment on land that we did not till every year. But 25 or 30 years ago, the old saying was, ‘No till, meant no yield.’ That was not the case with us.”
He has taken a no-tiling approach to his farming that benefits soil and root health and water conservation.
The farm estimates that there are between 800,000 and 1,000,000 earthworms per acre of their land.
This is essential for root zone health because when combined with the spreading of crop residue, they are able to conserve one day’s worth of water for three to four days.
For Chairman Leroy Smith of the Pitt Soil and Water Conservation District Board, presenting this award comes hand and hand with recognizing the weight of the responsibility that area farmers carry.
“The farmer’s job gets tougher every year. They’re an example of how you can have a big operation, agricultural operation, and do everything correct,” he said. “For the area, it enhances the whole area as a better place to live. And that’s the goal of the office, of the soil and water office and the board, is to make everything here a better place to live and work. And Mr. Sutton and his family have done an excellent job.”
Conservation is not the only thing the Sutton family pays close attention to. They are dedicated to sharing their farming knowledge with our area’s next generation of conservative farmers.
“We can do our part to conserve the environment and save it for our grandchildren and their children,” said Sutton.
Beginning October 2nd, Homeplace Strawberries will open their Fall Festival. There will be pumpkins, a corn maze, and lots of information to share about how they work to better serve the area for the public.
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