Local Tree Farmer Featured in COVID-19 Farm Safety Story

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Tracy and Scott Taylor have operated Stone Mountain Farm in western Watauga County since 1988. During the beginning of the pandemic crisis, with PPE being in short supply, Tracy reached out to N.C. Cooperative Extension of Watauga County and the North Carolina Agromedicine Institute looking for assistance in acquiring Tyvek suits, N-95 masks, and other safety equipment. With much of the nation’s PPE being channeled to healthcare providers, many farmers had a hard time equipping their workers with the proper gear needed for safe pesticide application and other general farm safety needs.

safety supplies

Dr. Robin Tutor Marcom, director of the North Carolina Agromedicine Institute handing protective masks and disinfectant wipes to Tracy Taylor, owner of Stone Mountain Farms in Vilas, NC. Photos by Marie Freeman, Appalachian State University.

Tracy will be the first to tell you that her workers are like family. Many of the 20+ farmworkers at Stone Mountain Farm have worked with her and Scott for years. Since the pandemic began, Tracy has been a vocal advocate and resource for farm safety on Christmas tree farms, participating on a number of industry Zoom webinars to share with other producers ways to help keep their workers safe. Tracy’s efforts with the North Carolina Agromedicine Institute were recently featured in an ARTICLE BY EAST CAROLINA UNIVERSITY.

farm safety

(From the right) Tutor Marcom; Taylor; and Dr. Jim Hamilton, Watauga County Extension Director, discuss the impact COVID-19 has had on the agricultural industry.