Livestock Facility Opens With Ribbon Cutting

— Written By

KENANSVILLE — Eleven months after the ground-breaking ceremony, Duplin County held the grand opening of the new Duplin County Livestock facility on Tuesday, January 15.

Under the direction of Brandon Cox, Project Coordinator and past Duplin Livestock agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension (NCCE), the county received a Golden LEAF Foundation grant in the amount of $200,000, a N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission grant in the amount of $200,000 and a N.C. Agriculture Development & Farmland Preservation  (ADFP) Trust Fund grant in the amount of $86,000 to help build the facility. In addition, cash donations totaled $119,464 and in-kind donations totalled $38,268.28 bringing the total to $643,732.28.

Working with the Coastal Carolina Cattle Alliance and the Duplin County Cattlemen’s Association and with the support of the Duplin County Agribusiness Council, Cox and members of the organizations saw a need to have a facility where cattle producers could load out  their cattle that were for sale rather than having to travel to another county.

From 2010 until 2012, a total of 18,728 calves were sold bringing back to this area $1.5 million. Having a place to load out the cattle will save the cattle producers the time and expense of travel as well as providing a safe and secure facility to house their cattle before loading out.

Edward Dail and Paul Phillips had provided facilities for the Alliance to use to load cattle to market, but it was not the optimum choice.

“Look at what we have done,” Cox exclaimed during the grand opening. “Look at what you did.” Cox also thanked Dail and Phillips for their help and assistance in the past.

Justin Whitey, Duplin NCCE Livestock agent, stated that he was going to concentrate on making sure the facility was used. He said that he would be concentrating on the 4-H programs offered and to bring more youth into the program.

“It is an impressive thing that [the livestock facility] is a private/cooperative/governmental project and there is no debt service,” stated J.W. Kilpatrick, president, Duplin Agribusiness Council.

Grey Morgan, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Southern Bank and a Duplin County resident  said, “This is going to be one of the greatest things Duplin County has ever done.” Morgan reflected on his years growing up in the county and what he experienced through 4-H and what the facility would do to help the youth of the county.

“This is a story of a dream and strong partnership,” said Joe Zublena, Associate Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Director, N.C. Cooperative Extension Service. “It is a story of hard work. Each individual did their share and carried their load. This is a story of success.”

Brandon reflected back on his first week on the job in Duplin County.

“I was brought to one of the best extension offices in the state,” he said. “I felt at home and they made me a team member.”

He spoke of the friendships he had developed while working in the county, working with the Alliance and working to build the facility.

“This facility is here because we empower,” he added. “The rest of the story begins here today.”

The facility will be used to load out cattle, provide educational events, especially for 4-Hers, and for livestock shows at the county fair.

The Livestock building is on the grounds at Duplin Commons behind the Lois G. Britt Agricultural Service Center.

For information or to schedule the use of the livestock facility, call 910-296-2143.

This news article appeared in the Jan. 24, 2013 issue of the Duplin Times newspaper and is being used with premission from the author. 01242013-AH-Dup Co Livestock Facility ribbon cutting(1)Anne Hunter can be reached at ahunter@ncweeklies.com or 910-296-0239.