In celebration of National Farmer’s Day, Wrangler is strengthening its commitments to future agricultural leaders. Wrangler has awarded the first-ever Next Generation Land Stewardship scholarship to Jacob Sykes of Mount Olive, North Carolina, and committed to a demonstration farm training program with the North Carolina Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation to support farmers dedicated to advancing sustainable agriculture practices.
Wrangler will fund the new program that aims to increase the adoption of cover crop implementation by commercial cotton and soy producers in North Carolina. The initiative will establish four 10-acre demonstration farms where cotton producers from across the state will be invited to learn progressive steps in heavy cereal rye cover crop management. During field days throughout the year, more than 1,000 producers will experience firsthand the importance and immediate benefits of cover cropping, including weed control and insect suppression.
“We are excited to be able to host these demonstration farms and training for growers who recognize the value of implementing these beneficial land stewardship practices,” said Michelle Lovejoy, Executive Director for the NC Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation. “The Wrangler brand’s demonstrated support is helping to create a culture of farmer resiliency and proves that preserving America’s farmland is of utmost importance.”
Separately, and building on previous initiatives for youth farmer education, Wrangler introduced a $5,000 scholarship earlier this year as part of its annual Next Generation Land Stewardship conference, where hundreds of students convene to learn advanced soil health techniques. Sykes, who said he believes soil is the most valuable resource on the planet, is pursuing a degree in agriculture production with a concentration in environmental and natural resources from Mount Olive University. He plans to continue his education toward becoming a soil scientist after graduation.
“Wrangler is inspired by emerging agricultural leaders who look at the land as more than just a chemistry set, but a living, breathing soil that benefits the crop, the surrounding communities and farmer livelihood,” said Roian Atwood, sustainability director, Wrangler. “We’re excited to support both Jacob and the NCFSWC as they work to preserve soil as a vital resource and keystone of our nation’s food and fiber production.
To further celebrate National Farmer’s Day, Wrangler released a video featuring fifth-generation farmers Vance and Mandie Smith of Big Springs, Texas, who are leading sustainable cotton producers committed to innovative soil health practices.
The third annual Next Generation Land Stewardship Conference will take place Saturday, April 20, 2019 in Greensboro, N.C.
Additional conservation partners supporting the training include: NC Cotton Producers Association, NC Soybean Producers Association, NC State University’s Cooperative Extension, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Soil Health Division, (Delete ARS reference, not partnering directly this first year), NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Division of Soil and Water Conservation, the NC Soil and Water Conservation Commission, and the NC Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.