• By Mark Tucker
  • Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Volunteer Receives Service To Agriculture Award

The North Carolina Association of County Agricultural Agents (NCACAA) recently presented the 2016 Service To Agriculture Award. The Association annually presents the award to a North Carolinian who has provided selfless service to the agricultural industry. The 2016 award winner is the chair of the Forsyth County Cooperative Extension Advisory Council, Mr. Edgar Miller of Winston-Salem.

Edgar is the third generation of farmers on what began as a peach orchard started by his grandfather in the 1920's. Guy Edgar, Edgar’s father, transitioned the farm to dairy in 1955. Beginning in 1969, Edgar operated the farm for 40 years. He was quickly acquainted with Extension through livestock agent Bill Mainous who offered assistance and encouragement to this young farmer. Based on Bill's recommendations, Edgar quickly began the process of turning his father's commercial herd into a registered Holstein operation. In addition to producing milk, GEM Dairy became known for its outstanding breeding program. Edgar was a pioneer with embryo transfer and sold embryos across the US and in England.

Dairy farming is synonymous with hard work, dedication, and perseverance. There is always plenty to do on a farm even without participating in other activities, so this award honors the sacrifices Edgar made in order to offer a lifetime of service to the agricultural industry.

Edgar has served the dairy industry for many years and has had great influence and impact at the state and national level. He has served for many years on the NC Holstein Association Board, including serving as President. He hosted the 1983 NC Holstein Association State Field Day on his farm. Edgar also served on the National Holstein Board of Directors from 1997 - 2004. The National Holstein Convention was held in Winston-Salem in 2003, and Edgar served as Conference Chairman. The NC Dairy Foundation has benefited from Edgar's leadership, again serving as President of this group, as well as chair of the NC Holstein Sale, and he was active in the NC Purebred Dairy Cattle Association.

Edgar has always had a passion for youth development and offers his knowledge and skills to assist them, especially with agricultural endeavors. He has hosted district, state, and southern regional dairy judging teams for practices and competitions on his farm. He judges dairy shows across North Carolina and neighboring states. He continues to serve as announcer for the Junior Dairy Show at the NC State Fair and the Clover Classic 4-H Livestock Show in Winston-Salem. Edgar opened up his farm for dairy tours for elementary school students. Many of these tours were conducted by Edgar and his family, but he also allowed the Forsyth 4-H program to utilize the farm at any time for school groups. It is estimated that well over 10,000 students have visited the farm to learn about agriculture.

Edgar’s service to agriculture has not been limited to the dairy industry. He currently serves as the Forsyth Cooperative Extension Advisory Chair and the Forsyth Farm Bureau President. He is also a past member of the NC Farm Bureau Board of Directors. Edgar is respected by all for his leadership, intelligence, warmth, caring personality, and his infectious positive attitude. I have worked with Edgar for many years, and I know that he is hard-working, intelligent, motivational, a leader, caring, and most certainly, a servant to others. Edgar always takes time to do the “little” things that recognize others and let others know that they are appreciated.

Edgar Miller has served his nation, state, and community through his leadership and dedication. He is certainly a deserving recipient of the 2016 NCACAA Service to Agriculture Award.

Media Contact: Erin McSpadden: ebmcspad@ncsu.edu

Photo from left to right

Nancy Keith, Iredell County Extension Director; Dr. Rich Bonanno, Associate Dean, CALS and Director, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service; Edgar Miller, Forsyth County Farm Bureau President and Service To Agriculture Award Winner; Dr. Fletcher Barber, Jr, NC A&T Regional Coordinator; and Mark Tucker, Forsyth County Extension Director.

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