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Producer Profiles

Rusty Cox is Chosen 2002 Pork All-American
Rusty Cox of Monroe will represent North Carolina as the 2002 Pork All-American. Rusty was honored at the 2002 Awards Banquet in New Bern on January 9. "I entered farming as a young boy, following in the footsteps of a very dedicated farmer, my father." says Rusty. "I learned early on that the decision-making responsibility required in this business was not to be taken lightly, and farming required tremendous dedication and a commitment to goals."

Cox Brothers Farms is a family-owned and operated farm in Union County. Rusty manages all aspects of the swine facility, a farrow-to-finish operation that markets 40,000 head annually. Cox Brothers Farm also farm 13,000 acres of crops annually and market three million broilers. As an independent farmer, Rusty is responsible for management, feed manufacturing, purchasing and marketing for the operation. "I have accepted this role almost as a challenge and attempt to approach each day's challenges with the same passion as has my father."

This past fall, Rusty was also honored as the Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year from North Carolina, where his environmental practices were recognized. The Cox Brothers Farm use minimum tillage in their Piedmont area known as the Slate Belt. "When farming these shallow soils, minimum tillage is not an option, it is a necessity." says Cox. "Our cropping system is 100% minimum tillage. Through application of our nutrient management plans, monitoring of copper and zinc levels in livestock rations, proper liming and residue management, we are building a top soil while increasing yield." He continues. "Through buffer management we are attempting to improve stream bank quality and reduce flooding and soil erosion."

Rusty currently serves on the N.C. Pork Council board of directors. He is an active member of the Union County Extension Service and is a member of the local Farm Bureau where he serves on various committees dealing with improving pork and row crop production. He has testified in support of agriculture before the US Agricultural Committee with regard to EPA's proposed CAFO permits and TMDL's. An avid race fan, last year Rusty gladly lent a hand with a National Pork Board promotion, serving a pork lunch at the ARCO garage at the Lowe's Speedway in Charlotte. Rusty and his wife Sonda have two sons, Campbell, 13, and Davis, 11. The Cox family loves football and family beach trips, and are active members of the First Baptist Church of Monroe.

Through sound business management focused on least cost production, Cox Brothers Farm continues to grow in size and scope. One of many goals set by Cox, is to provide his children the opportunity to choose production agriculture as a career. "Through land acquisition, and the use of farmland and estate protection legislation, this goal is becoming a reality."

The Pork All-American Awards Program was originated by the National Pork Producers Council in 1970 to acknowledge and bring attention to outstanding young producers who have established themselves as dedicated involved business people and leaders in their communities. Rusty was nominated for the award by Don Jackson, account manager with Newsham Hybrids. "It has been my pleasure to know and work with Rusty Cox for ten years. He is a credit to the agriculture industry."