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Loyd & Sara Lewis Honored with Carolina Farm Credit Excellence In Agriculture 2012 Award
Gary Hastings, left, presents the Carolina Farm Credit Excellence In Agriculture 2012 Award to Loyd & Sara Lewis of Lewis Farms in Fallston, NC.
Twenty-six years ago the Cleveland County Farm City Week committee decided to recognize an individual and/or entity that has made contributions now or formerly to the agriculture sector of Cleveland county. Carolina farm credit having been associated with agricultural lending for over 95 years is proud to be able to sponsor this award in conjunction with the farm-city week activities. This year's award was presented to Loyd & Sara Lewis at the recent Farm-City Breakfast which was sponsored by Kiwanis Club of Shelby and highlighted local foods.
Some criteria of this award has been that the recipient:
• Employed good management practices of the land and is a steward of its natural resources.
• Well respected in their field, a leader, innovator, and spokesperson for their industry.
• Contributed to other areas of agriculture in and around Cleveland county. Someone who is active in community-civic affairs.
In keeping with this year's Farm-City theme of “Eating Local Foods” provided the honey that was served during the Farm-City Breakfast last week.
Loyd Lewis of Lewis farms in Fallston has farmed since 1961.  He started when he was 18 and has farmed in some capacity for the last 51 years. He is a life-long resident of upper Cleveland county, where he and his wife, Sara, still reside. He has 4 children and has 6 grandchildren.
Loyd retired from fiber industries after 32 years of service, farming all of those 32 years as well, having his dad Lee Lewis to thank for mentoring him.
Over the years some of the crops Loyd has grown include:
Sweet potatoes, sweet potato slips, Irish potatoes, tomatoes, kale, collards, greens, turnips, squash, cucumbers, lettuce, peppers, pumpkins, radishes, onions, field peas, okra, strawberries, watermelons, peaches, muscadines, blackberries and honey.
He can be found selling his vegetables at the Foothills Farmers' Market in uptown Shelby, the Lincolnton Farmers Market and of course at his roadside stand north of Fallston on Hwy. 18.
Mr. Lewis has served on the Cleveland County Beekeepers Association (as past president), Foothills Farmers' Market, Cleveland County Potato Project and as a Deacon at Fallston Baptist Church.
A few of his farming career highlights include:
• Largest sweet potato producer in the region, 800 to 1000 bushels per year
• Largest sweet potato slip producer in the region, with 500,000+ slips annually
• Eager to try new crops and concepts working in concert with the NC Cooperative Extension office including white sweet potatoes & plasticulture
• Conducted numerous on-farm tests with NC Cooperative Extension
• Has supported the Cleveland County Potato Project since its inception
When asked about his future plans, Loyd says he will "keep on farming.”
Provided by Gary Hastings

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