Press release from WNC Communities:
WNC Communities held the 29th Annual Western North Carolina Agricultural Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Mountain Horticulture Crops Research & Extension Center in Mills River. Buncombe County leader L.T. Ward, a champion for agriculture in Western North Carolina, was inducted at this year’s luncheon.
This annual event recognizes stewards of our Western North Carolina agribusiness sector and honors the visionaries and leaders of the agriculture industry. At a time when Western North Carolina is seeking to strengthen our economic sustainability, WNC Communities is proud to recognize those who have made significant contributions to one of our state’s most important sources of revenue.
L.T. has provided 40 years of volunteer service dedicated to sustaining rural community and agricultural viability in Western North Carolina. An action-oriented visionary, L.T. provided strategic and financial guidance to WNC Communities, with participation in the creation of: NC Mountain State Fair, Mountain Cattle Alliance, WNC Regional Livestock Center, LLC, Blue Ridge Food Ventures, LLC, WNC Brewers Grain, LLC, NC Arboretum, WNC Forestry Education, LLC, Hemlock Restoration Initiative, and other initiatives.
Speaking to L.T.’s varied contributions, Bill Yarborough, Special Assistant to Commissioner of Agriculture, states, “L.T.’s leadership with the Hemlock Restoration Initiative has produced numerous peer reviewed journal articles, protected tens of thousands of hemlocks, involved communities and agencies, state and nationally, into a one purpose mission. If not for L.T., this effort would not have been possible, and the hemlock could certainly be a forgotten species in this region.” The Hemlock Restoration Initiative is housed and managed by WNC Communities.
L.T. led the effort to build and ensure successful operations at the WNC Regional Livestock Center (WNC RLC), located in Haywood County. Local cattle producer, Jerry Roberts states, “I am one of the many cattle producers who are benefitting from his foresight and commitment to our industry. The WNC Regional Livestock Center has achieved sales of over $100 million since opening in 2011. The agricultural community and all of Western North Carolina owe him a deep debt of gratitude.” Additionally, L.T. strongly advocates for education, and he ensured that the Beef Quality Assurance program was implemented at the WNC RLC with area county extension agents coordinating. Many producers have raised better quality cattle, and this has improved the economics of both the producer and the region.
L. T. Ward has been a champion of agriculture and Western North Carolina, volunteering tirelessly to provide positive opportunities for our region; this has earned him the honor of being inducted into the 2019 WNC Agricultural Hall of Fame.
Also inducted this year was Theron Maybin Sr., a pioneer in the apple business in Henderson County. WNC Communities is honored to award stellar leaders in agriculture with a plaque on the prestigious WNC Agricultural Hall of Fame Wall located in the Mountain Horticulture Crops Research & Extension Center in Mills River, NC.