Moultrie Observer

Sunbelt Expo

September 22, 2008

Organic cattle farmer named North Carolina Farmer of Year

Von M. “V. Mac” Baldwin of Yanceyville, N.C., has carved out a unique market in the beef business by selling fresh and frozen cuts of his grass-fed Charolais cattle directly to organic stores and consumers.

“Our cattle generate weekly cash flow,” he says. “That is almost unheard of in the beef business — to get weekly cash flow from a breeding herd.”

He maintains more than 400 Charolais cows on about 800 acres of owned land and 900 acres of leased pastures. His calves are grass-fed to slaughter weight prior to processing into kitchen-ready cuts. In addition, he raises hatching eggs on contract and uses the poultry litter waste as a low-cost organic fertilizer for his forages.

“We feed the litter to the grass and let the grass feed the cows,” he explains.

As a result of his accomplishments as a beef and poultry producer, Baldwin has been selected as the 2008 North Carolina winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award. Baldwin now joins nine other state winners from the Southeast as finalists for the award. The overall winner will be announced on Tuesday, Oct. 14, at the Sunbelt Ag Expo farm show in Moultrie, Ga.

Baldwin started farming in 1969 while working full time off the farm as an electrical engineer. That is when he bought two registered Charolais heifers and rented his wife Peggy’s 19-acre home farm. He continued to rent farms and gradually expanded his Charolais herd. In 1981, he bought his first farm, 331 acres in Caswell County, N.C. He has since bought four more farms.

V. Mac and Peggy have two adopted children. Their daughter Patti lives nearby and is a nurse at Duke Medical Center. Their son Craig bought an adjoining farm where he raises stocker cattle. Baldwin credits Craig for persuading he and Peggy to borrow the money needed to buy their first farm.

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