Local farm family receives honor

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Special to the Reporter

Lance and Dana Byrd of Shelby County were selected as the 2003 Outstanding Young Farm Family of Alabama recently.

The announcement was made during the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 82nd annual meeting in Mobile at the first of December. The Byrds

of Montevallo were selected to compete for the award after being named the Outstanding Young Farm Family in the Greenhouse, Nursery and Sod Division earlier this year.

As the 2003 Outstanding Young Farm Family, the Byrds will participate in many activities promoting Alabama agriculture across the state during the coming year.

They received the use of a 2004 Chevrolet TrailBlazer for the next year and an IBM computer package from ValCom Business Centers of Alabama.

The Byrds operate Green Valley Farms on about 800 acres in Shelby County near Montevallo.

Their farm is in one of the fastest-growing areas of the state, and their market has grown even faster than they could have imagined. This year, even with a sluggish economy, sales have increased by 12 percent, according to Lance who also serves as vice president and nursery manager at Green Valley.

The farm has changed a lot since Lance’s grandfather produced livestock and poultry.

When Lance’s father joined the operation, he added hogs and sod to the mix. When the hogs became less profitable, the nursery business was added.

In the mid-1990s, Lance and Dana joined the business, and it’s been growing steadily ever since.

Their primary nursery products are woody ornamentals and trees. They grow centipede, zoysia and Bermuda grass in the sod operation and have a commercial cow-calf operation.

Next year, the Byrds plan to help their sons Beaux, 11, and Tyler, 6, start a u-pick operation for blueberries and blackberries. They also hope to have a pumpkin patch and corn maze.

Lance serves on the Shelby County Farmers Federation Board where he is chairman of the county’s Greenhouse, Nursery and Sod Committee.

He also serves on the State Greenhouse, Nursery and Sod Committee of the Alabama Farmers Federation.

Dana serves as chairman of the Shelby County Young Farmers, a position she has held three years.

A good work ethic, strong morals and values are the things the Byrds say they enjoy most about their relationship with other members of the Young Farmers program.

&uot;It’s great to be around people who share your same ideas, goals and even the same problems in some cases,&uot; Dana said.