DOBSON, N.C. — A Wayne-Sanderson Farms farm partner in Dobson, N.C., has been recognized for environmental excellence and sustainable farm practices by the North Carolina Poultry Federation during its 56th annual meeting. Mountain View Poultry was named runner-up for the federation’s Grower Environmental Excellence award, presented annually to three outstanding farm families in North Carolina.
Mountain View Poultry is family owned and operated by Sidney and Crystal Whitaker and Steven and Catrena Whitaker. The Whitaker brothers, Sidney and Steven, are fourth generation farmers, operating a six-house poultry operation as well as row crops on the family’s nearly 1,000 acres of land. The legacy farm was established in 1919 by Steven and Sidney’s great grandfather. In 2011, the brothers began their partnership with Wayne-Sanderson Farms by adding poultry to their operations.
“Their dedication to sustainable farming practices and environmental stewardship is a story we had to tell to encourage other farmers to use this winning approach,” said Matthew Wooten, Wayne-Sanderson Farms’ Dobson, N.C., complex manager. “We’re proud to have farm partners like the Whitakers.”
The Whitakers’ sound environmental practices are a foundational aspect of Mountain View Poultry’s sustainable operation, including a manure management system that repurposes chicken litter to fertilize field crops, producing higher yields and reducing farm operating costs, the company added. Barn-stored and kept dry to eliminate odor and runoff, the litter is spread over fields during the off season and cover crops are planted to further prevent runoff and erosion. Constant monitoring and regular sampling ensure manure management efficacy and environmental wellbeing.
The Whitakers take special pride in the appearance and cleanliness of the property, earning the Good Agricultural Practices Certification from the state of North Carolina. Mountain View Poultry also coordinates with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to ensure crop protection while managing the wildlife population to improve crop yields and prevent disease from reaching the birds.
Not only do the brothers take pride in their farm work, they also take immense pride in giving back to their local community, Wayne-Sanderson added. The Whitakers provide financial support to local sports teams and other educational and extracurricular programs, and often serve as ambassadors for the poultry industry by educating and encouraging the next generation of farmers. The family also supports higher education by cultivating a dedicated field for a corn study in support of a North Carolina State graduate student research project
Through the four focus pillars of Wayne-Sanderson Farms’ employee engagement initiative, Amazing Starts with Me, employees and farmers are encouraged to care for people, protect our planet, respect our animals and provide safe, high-quality wholesome chicken to our consumers. The Whitakers embody this message, modeled through their dedication to their craft and community involvement, the company noted.
The North Carolina Poultry Federation, based in Raleigh, N.C., serves producers and processors of chicken, turkey, and egg products as a united voice and advocate for the industry with government, media and the general public. The federation recognizes members of its industry through annual awards for grower environmental, allied industry and distinguished service.
“I am proud of these multigeneration family farmers for continuing their family’s legacy of achieving excellence in poultry by focusing heavily on sustainably and environmentally sound practices,” said Michael Crump, senior vice president and general manager of the fresh business unit of Wayne-Sanderson Farms. “By following these practices, the Whitakers are working tirelessly to ensure their farm is sustained for generations to come.”