Four growers recognized at annual Gold Star Growers meeting

Harnett farm among those honored

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RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Labor presented special awards to four North Carolina growers during the 26th annual Gold Star Growers meeting held Feb. 7 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh.

The Gold Star Grower Housing Program recognizes growers who provide farmworker housing that meets and exceeds the requirements of the Migrant Housing Act of North Carolina. These standards are required by law and are used during annual inspections performed by NCDOL’s Agricultural Safety and Health (ASH) Bureau.

Occupational Safety and Health Division Director Kevin Beauregard read a statement from Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry. “The foundation of a safe workplace is the care an employer has for all his or her employees,” Berry said. “I am very proud to know you, and I am proud to have been associated with you as North Carolina’s commissioner of labor.”

The Labor Department recognized four growers for special awards.

Byrd Family Farms in Harnett County received the award for Most Improved Housing.

Harris Farms in Warren County received the award for Best Maintained Housing — East. Robertson Family Farm in Stokes County received the award for Best Maintained Housing — West. Quincy Farms Inc. in Edgecombe County received the award for Best New Housing.

Occupational Safety and Health Director Kevin Beauregard, along with employees of the ASH Bureau, presented the awards to the recipients.

“The Gold Star Grower Program continues to grow every year,” said Beth Rodman, ASH bureau chief. “It is a highly sought-after designation, and all of you know just how hard you work to achieve Gold Star status and to maintain it year after year. It takes a lot of time, dedication and money to do that, and we appreciate your efforts.”

At this year’s meeting, 197 growers were recognized as Double Gold Star Growers, and 86 were recognized as Single Gold Star Growers. Double Gold Star Growers are eligible for self-inspection of their housing in the upcoming year.

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