Helping to Diversify Local Farms: NC Farm School
In a time when the younger generations leave their rural homes in pursuit of higher education and newfound opportunities, Noah Miller was no different as he set off for college to study sustainability. This eventually led him even farther away, as far as Thailand, halfway across the world to work and travel.
“We are in the process of enhancing pastureland and improving fencing for more efficient management of our herd.”
Noah Miller of Miller Farms in Stony Point, NC intends to make sure that the farm also provides him with a solid financial return by investing in greenhouse production, agritourism, and vineyards all topics he learned about in NC Farm School.
Eventually home came calling and Noah found his way back to Stony Point, North Carolina. His father was ready to pass on the farming torch. However, this time, Noah saw opportunities at home.
Noah’s family farm was traditionally a tobacco farm. “When tobacco farming became too demanding for my family, we decided to transition to beef cattle production.” Noah explained, “Located in the foothills, our farm has many open fields and streams that make transitioning to beef cattle production a natural fit.”
Noah enrolled in NC Farm School to complement his education in sustainability. “NC Farm School emphasizes the big picture that we are not alone by introducing us to an entire network of support including teachers, agents, specialists, and other farmers ready to help.”
Under his farming vision, he plans on using the land’s natural resources sustainably to ensure that the farm remains resilient for future generations. “We are in the process of enhancing pastureland and improving fencing for more efficient management of our herd.” He intends to make sure that the farm also provides him with a solid financial return by investing in greenhouse production, agritourism, and vineyards all topics he learned about at NC Farm School.
Noah reflects appreciatively on his family influence on his life. “I’ve been told that when I was old enough to sit up, my grandma would place me in a cardboard box at the end of a tobacco row under the watchful eye of my grandpa while she helped set out the tobacco crop,” explained Miller. “So I guess you could say I’ve been farming all my life.”
Noah offers a tour of the farm from the cow pastures to the farm’s renovated tobacco barn that has become a small historical museum, an archive of his family’s tobacco farming tradition. Returning to his family farm was an intentional decision. He credits his grandparents and parents for his love of his family’s land. Working outdoors, the freedom of working for himself, his connection to his family’s farming tradition all guided him in his decision to plant himself back at Stony Point.
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