Brothers Jimmy and Andy G. farm with their parents Reid and Peggy at Grayhouse Farms in Stony Point, North Carolina. They milk 400 cows and raise 400 heifers, and farm 2,100 acres of land some of which is in forestry.
The family is in the process of modernizing and expanding their dairy facility. They are thrilled that the third generation, Jimmy’s son John Roby and Andy’s daughters Rachel and Laurel are also fully-engaged on the farm. They all show animals and are actively involved in their country fair, where they have earned championship honors.
Farming is a busy job, especially dairy farming,” says Andy.
“You never know when you’ll be in church on Sunday and get a phone call that they need help. But it’s very rewarding. You can watch animals grow, watch crops grow, watch your children grow. It’s what I’ve always done. We’re here every day of the year trying to produce a healthy wholesome food that Americans can consume,” says Andy.
Jimmy serves as the chairman of the local Soil and Water Conservation District, and is an advocate for environmental stewardship. As a farm family, Jimmy, Andy and Reid have a responsibility to their neighbors through their land and the environment.
“We’re committed to soil and water conservation here at Grayhouse,” says Jimmy. The family employs a no-till farming method, which reduces erosion and improves soil health. They have also fenced seven different streams that flow through their pastures to make a positive impact on the environment. “Our streams are cleaner for it. Vegetation is able to grow up and protect the stream banks from washing away during heavy rain events. And when we exclude cattle from streams and provide water tanks for drinking, our young cattle are healthier and have increased growth rates,” Jimmy says.
Throughout the year, the family hosts a number of events on the farm to engage their local community and educate their neighbors about a number of issues from agriculture education to hunter safety and water conservation.
For 18 years, Jimmy and Amanda have hosted an annual youth activity day, which always has a wildlife conservation message mixed in with a lot of fun. They set up ten different supervised stations where children can catch fish, shoot a sling shot, take a canoe ride on the pond, and try their hand at archery, skeet, and pellet rifle marksmanship.
In 2007 Grayhouse Farms, along with the Iredell Soil and Water Conservation District hosted a Forestry Management and Wildlife Habitat Field Day. Many local land owners attended and learned valuable tips to improve timber production while also providing better habitat for deer, turkey and other wildlife.
“Farmers are the caretakers,” says Jimmy. “We need to set the good example in our communities, and proactively tell our story to our fellow neighbors. It’s just the right thing to do.”