Shelby County Couple Named Outstanding Young Farm Family
Lance and Dana Byrd of Shelby County were selected as the 2003 Outstanding Young Farm Family of Alabama during the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 82nd annual meeting in Mobile. The Byrds 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 a personal 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.