Shawn Hatley has all the attributes of the entrepreneur: vision, business skills, initiative, leadership, and certainly the required propensity for risk-taking. His roots are deep in Stanly County’s red clay and here in Stanly County his entrepreneurial skills have been given full rein. “I've always said I'm fortunate to have ‘roots’ in a time when so many people are transient, mobile or removed from connection to place and heritage,” he says.
Hatley is the owner of Blake’s Creek Ranch, LLC, a family corporation established to manage farmland through sheep and cattle grazing.
As part of a long range plan, he has returned the family farm in Oakboro to profitability through The Naked Pig Meat Company, LLC, of which he is co-founder/owner. Part livestock farming, part meat market and part meat processing, the company operates a farrow to finish hog operation & beef cattle farm. It teams with small family farms to finish hogs and markets niche meats direct to families throughout the US. The Naked Pig (TNP) provides economic value to 15 farm families throughout NC through grain purchasing, animal purchasing, meat processing and value added retail sales.
Hatley is also managing director of Sun-Raised Farms, LLC, a collection of farmers across North Carolina who use sheep to manage the vast grazing areas under and around solar installations. Instead of wasting money on fossil fuels, chemicals, and mowing machines, Sun Raised Farms invests in local farmers and their sheep to do the ground maintenance and look after the land. The local farmers raise healthy hormone and pesticide free sheep on the grounds of the solar farms. The sheep graze and keep the grass down during the growing season so the grass and weeds don't shade the solar panels.
“Our farmers take ownership of each site and are trained using the best practice from our experience working with sheep on solar farms,” says Hatley. “With our model we accomplish a win for the solar company, a win for the community, a win for the family farmer, a win for the consumer, and a win for the environment.”
Married with two children, Hatley graduated in 2002 from North Carolina University’s College of Design with a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture and a minor degree in Business Management.
He is Secretary of the North Carolina Hog Growers Association and interim co-director of the Upper Pee Dee Farm and Food Council.
His leadership skills are currently utilized by the Stanly County Chamber of Commerce as he serves a two-year term as Board Chair.
“Stanly Chamber has been a great organization to get involved in,” he says. “My pastor always says, you get out of church what you put into church. This is true of most anything, relationships, life, sports, community, business.”
“Over the past four years, the Chamber has changed and will continue to evolve to reflect community and regional shifts in economic drivers,” Hatley continues. “The old Stanly County Seal (Aluminum, Textiles and Agriculture) has two historic ‘legs’ removed. Stanly County is an agricultural based economy within an agricultural driven state. As we grow, land and water resources will play increasingly significant roles in Stanly County's value proposition to the greater Charlotte region through tourism, recreation and farmland preservation.”