Owning and managing a commercial-scale farm has been Cheryl’s dream most of her life. Says Cheryl, “I grew up on a farm, of sorts. Honestly, my parents didn’t have the resources to make it a working farm. It’s taken Bernie and I a lot of hard work and perseverance to create the enterprise we have today.”
Cheryl first became interested in raising beef cattle while working for a local veterinary practice, where she honed her animal husbandry skills. While there, she and Bernie began building their beef herd and reclaiming farmland that had been in their family for 85 years. Cheryl left the veterinary practice after 17 years and began farming full-time. Bernie recently retired from the American Tobacco Company and now they are working together, raising beef and hogs on pasture full time.
With a combination of land they own and lease, the Pryor’s farm close to 500 acres, which includes mostly pasture with some woodland areas and small grain production. Their Angus-based herd includes 75 momma cows. Both Cheryl and Bernie are committed to improving their farm and are actively engaged in environmental stewardship programs offered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, including fencing projects to protect forested areas and waterways. Bernie and Cheryl are winners of the 2011 NC Environmental Stewardship Award presented by the NC Cattlemen’s Association.
The Pryors also participate in pasture management research conducted by NC State University. Says Cheryl, “I’ve learned a lot recently about how to use flash grazing and other techniques to optimize animal and pasture health.”
Cheryl direct markets beef and pork off of her farm and is currently installing a walk-in freezer to help her manage inventory. She’s excited to be a part of Firsthand Foods
’ Producer Network, noting, “I want to be a part of building a viable local market for our great tasting beef!”