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Ben Lloyd honored with Order of Long Leaf Pine - News of Orange: News

LIVING A LEGACY Ben Lloyd honored with Order of Long Leaf Pine

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Posted: Friday, July 24, 2015 3:00 am

It was perhaps the perfect way Andrew “Ben” Lloyd Jr. could top off his morning—a feast of moon pies and RC Cola, his favorite snack.

On Saturday, July 18, Lloyd—surrounded by his family, friends and former and current colleagues—was honored with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine at the Old Orange County Courthouse.

The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the most prestigious honors given by the governor, is bestowed upon those with a proven record of service to the state, community, their chosen career and organizations.

The 85-year-old met his newly found title with humility and a little bit of humor.

“I keep on looking around to find who they’ve been talking about,” he said. “I’m sure that there are others probably more deserving than I am. Thank you for considering me for it.”

For more than 35 years, Ben Lloyd has been involved publicly and politically in Orange County.

“I have expressed my opinion and supported what I though was good,” he said. “And opposed what I thought was bad. I learned a lot along the way.”

Order of the Long Leaf Pine

The ceremony was filled with numerous accolades from government representatives and officials for the Orange County native, praising him for his achievements from his work as an advocate for rural communities to his service in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War to his work as a county commissioner.

Ben Lloyd’s son, Craig, likened his father to the Old Orange County Courthouse.

“This building reminds me of my daddy,” he said. “Of course, it’s real old, but it is built on a really strong foundation. One thing it has done is serve its county, its state and its country very well. So has our daddy.

“[This courtroom] is where people come to fight for justice, say what they believe and fight for what they believe; so does my daddy.”

Rep. Graig Meyer said Ben Lloyd lives up to the state motto “esse quam videri” meaning “to be rather than to seem.”

“This is a man that spends his time reflecting on the right thing to do and does the right thing,” Meyer said. “And he will very clearly tell you why he believes it’s the right thing to do and why he took that action.”

U.S. Rep. David Price said he also thought Ben Lloyd was a strong advocate for the things he believes in.

“From politics to community service, Ben has made an imprint on this community and on this state and on all of us that have been associated with him,” Price said. “It’s a lifetime of service; it’s a lifetime of service I think all of us have to admire.”

Price said Lloyd has spoken up for Northern Orange County and how rural communities need to be helped.

“The politics of Orange County haven’t always been at the forefront of considerations in the county,” he said. “The need for water and sewer, the need for fire protection over the years—Ben has been a very powerful advocate for that.

“He’s the first to tell you about the challenges farming faces these days. 
… [Farmer is] the first word you think of when you think of Ben Lloyd.”

Farming roots

Like the soybean plants growing behind his home, Ben Lloyd’s roots run deep in Orange County soil. According to Craig Lloyd, the family goes 10 generations back to the time of the regulators, a group of people known for speaking out for area residents.

In more recent history, Ben Lloyd said in 1922 his father, Andrew B. Lloyd Sr., along with his uncle started Lloyds Brothers Dairy on what was known as Lloyds Farm Road, now Orange Grove Road. In 1929, the brothers split the dairy after Andrew Lloyd bought his wife’s home place in the Efland area, where the Lloyd family still resides.

“I was born and raised right here on the dairy farm, right here in Efland,” Ben Lloyd said.

As other neighboring farms became available, Andrew Lloyd purchased the land, growing the farm acre by acre. Ben Lloyd said he remembered his father clearing the land, sawing the trees down by hand and then using a bulldozer to pile the trees up. The logging helped the family supplement the dairy farm by selling wood to the Eno River Mill.

After attending N. C. State University in Raleigh, Ben Lloyd returned home to work on the family farm, but, in 1954, he joined the U.S. Navy, becoming a Seabee, part of the construction battalion.

Ben Lloyd said he never saw action as his service came at the end of the Korean War, but he remembers his military time fondly.

“While I was in the Navy, I made some very close friends,” he said. “I have remained close friends and in contact over the 58 years of Navy buddies from South Carolina, Texas, California, Illinois, Iowa; I have stayed in close contact over the years.”

During his time based at Coronado, Calif., another highlight for the Orange County natve was when he married his late wife, Camelia Compton Lloyd, who he met at a ballgame years before in Cedar Grove.

“I guess if I have anything to be proud of it would be 58 years of marriage to a wonderful, Christian mother, four children and eight grandchildren,” he said.

Farming, business 
and public service

After being transferred to Norfolk, Va., in 1957 and discharged from the Navy in 1958, Ben Lloyd returned to the family farm.

He ventured into business, opening a service station and carwash in Efland.

But by the 1970s, Ben Lloyd had returned to what he knew best and began purchasing the farm, growing the operation that was once home to 150 dairy cows.

He started a successful bovine artificial insemination business, which helped farmers in the southeast region breed cows.

Despite his success, Ben Lloyd always looked to help his community. He helped to create the Efland Rescue and Fire Department. He was also a founding member of the Efland Ruritan Club and Optimist Club.

With his community investments, it wasn’t long until he got involved politically.

“In 1977, people got concerned about the political goings on in Orange County, mainly high taxes and what they deemed as over regulation,” he said. “We created an Orange County Farm and Landowners Association, which was merely a watch dog on county government.”

The ball started rolling, and in 1982, Ben Lloyd was elected to the board of directors of the Orange-Alamance Water System, where he is in his 44th year of service. For the last 24 years, he has served as secretary and treasurer.

That same year he was elected to the Board of County Commissioners, and in 1990 he was appointed by the General Assembly as a member of the N.C. Milk Commission, which regulated the state’s milk industry.

Family ties

The Lloyd family farm now sprawls more than 700 acres in Orange County, and, in 2002, the family sold its herd of cows and decided to start growing grains, corn and soybeans.

“The farm is under the management today of the third generation,” Ben Lloyd said. “My father Andrew B. Lloyd Sr.; I’m Andrew B. Lloyd Jr., and my son, Andy, is Andrew B. Lloyd III, so he’s the third generation to be on this farm.”

Out of all his accomplishments in life, Ben Lloyd said he’s most proud of his family.

“We’re a close family,” he said. “We make a big deal on birthdays, Christmases, Thanksgivings, holidays and especially birthdays—they are all here.”