Serving Kenly, Selma, Smithfield, Princeton & Pine Level since 1973

Livestock show, sale honors young and old

Powell, Lee join Ag Hall of Fame

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SMITHFIELD — Schyler Crocker of Selma with his grand champion steer, Shelby Anderson of Wendell with her reserve champion steer, Lydia Crocker of Selma with her grand champion market lamb, Andrew Roberts of Four Oaks with his grand champion market goat, Hattie Jo Powell of Four Oaks with her reserve champion market goat and Kaylee Pittman of Selma with her grand champion market hog took top honors at Johnston County Youth Livestock Show and Sale at the Johnston County Livestock Arena last week.

Some 104 youths from across Johnston County participated in the annual event that included 10 steers, 16 heifers, 77 market hogs, 48 market goats and 15 market lambs entered in the competition.

“It is very rewarding to see young people progress through the program and set their sights on higher education,” said Johnston County Cooperative Extension livestock agent Dan Wells.

The annual show and sale is open to youths 5-18 who either attend school in Johnston County or whose primary home is here. Participants learn about livestock production, record-keeping, financial management and responsibility.

Bryant Spivey presented the Johnston County Agriculture Hall of Fame Award to Charles Ronald “Ronnie” Powell and William Frank Lee.

Powell was born on June 19, 1953 to the late Hugh and Geraldine Powell of Smithfield. His father opened Powell Livestock Co. in 1958 and it’s still in business today. Powell’s brother H.B. Powell owns and operates the business.

Powell Livestock was recently named the oldest family-owned livestock market in North Carolina.

Ronnie Powell was raised in the livestock business and he always had a love for it. As he got older, he went to auctioneering school in Mason City, Iowa and later took on several livestock auctioneering jobs.

One of those jobs was with Mount Olive Livestock Market, where he’s still employed today with more than 45 years of service.

Powell married wife Peggy in 1973 and later had one son named Robbie. A cowboy at heart, he enjoyed catching loose cattle for people when he was younger and always had several good rope horses and track dogs around to assist with the task.

Powell has been a financial supporter of the Johnston County Livestock Show and Sale for many years.

William Frank Lee was born Aug. 29, 1957. He grew up on a farm on Devils Racetrack Road near Four Oaks where his family grew tobacco and corn and raised swine. He graduated from South Johnston High School in 1975 and received a degree in agriculture from N.C. State University.

By age 26, Lee owned five tobacco warehouses in Greenville, Tennessee. He eventually moved back to North Carolina and operated a tobacco warehouse in Sanford.

Talon Construction was founded in 1997 by Frank Lee and Roy Pope in Smithfield. The company produces metal buildings for agricultural and other uses.

On July 29, 1997, Lee opened Central Tobacco Exchange as Designation No. 590. Lee opened Central Marketing as a purchasing agent for Philip Morris USA in 2002 and in 2015 the receiving station changed to Alliance One International.

The business now offers tobacco farmers as far west as Pilot Mountain in Surry County, as far east as Ahoskie in Hertford County and as far north as South Hill, Virginia, an outlet to sell its flue-cured tobacco.

Lee owns Brightleaf Flea Market in Smithfield, which was formerly an auction tobacco warehouse.

He supports the UNC Hospitals pediatric departments, Johnston County Youth Livestock Show and Sale for 4-H and is an active sponsor with Future Farmers of America. Lee has three children, Danielle, Christina and Will Lee.