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2015-2016 Grant Projects

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2015-2016 Grant Projects


  • Josh Roberson, of Bethel began to diversify away from tobacco several years ago when they opened Carolina Country Fresh, retail farm market. They turned one tobacco field into a 12 acre corn maze, and with the grant funds they plan to expand their produce production. Country Fresh Market is located at Exit 502 off of Hwy 64.


  • Howard Kostelecky, of Kenly has been experimenting with small scale aquaponics systems for raising fish and vegetables. He will be using the grant funds to build a larger greenhouse and expand the aquaponics operation.

Livestock and Poultry

  • Master Blend Family Farm, in Kenansville offers free range, all natural swine, and fresh produce. The pigs are born, raised and topped out on the farm. The family takes pride in saying, “From our table to your table.”  With the grant award, they plan to purchase a freezer delivery truck to expand their market area for shipping whole hogs.
  • Harmony Ridge Farms in Tobaccoville, has a diverse farm operation that includes produce, poultry, Peking ducks and hogs. Kevin Oliver will use the grant funds to expand the duck brooding operation and make the process more efficient.
  • Blake Thompson, of Smithfield will use the grant funds to raise pastured pork. This niche market has grown significantly in the past few years and will provide a new agriculture enterprise on the family farm. Blake will sell the pork through a local co-op.
  • Pauline Hylton of Mount Airy received a grant to support a new farm venture. She and her husband Tom inherited the farm in 2013 from Tom’s grandparents. They plan to combine chickens and goats on their pasture and will sell meat at both the farmers market and to wholesale markets.
  • Alan Sharp from Sims is part of a fifth-generation family farm. He received a small grant to market their pork and sweet potatoes to a new customer base through the development of Sharps Farm Sweet Potato Sausage. Alan is working with NC State University Food Science Department to formulate the final product and design the packaging.


  • Michelle Tingine, of Snow Hill wants to offer her customers a little something extra when they visit the family farm produce stand. With her grant funds she plans to add some kid friendly recreational activities and sweet treats grown on the farm. Creekside Fresh Pickings is located off Contentnea Creek.
  • The Lewis family, of Walstonburg represents the best of the past and the future. The Lewis family will use their grant funds to establish the Growing Minds Educational Barn next to the Lewis Creek Market. The rustic barn will have hands-on exhibits where family shoppers can learn about farm life and nutrition. The Lewis Creek Market is located at the intersection of Hwy 264 Alt. and Lewis Store Road.
  • Porter Farm in Snow Hill gets many requests from schools and other groups interested in visiting the farm and learning more about farm life. With the grant award they plan to expand their roadside stand with fun recreational activities and increase their acreage of strawberries and pumpkins.
  • George and Donna Smith of Gibsonville are sixth generation farmers. 2016 marks the 83rd year the family is participating in the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market. They are using their grant funds to purchase plastic mulch laying equipment to become more efficient and increase vegetable production while conserving water.
  • Dean and Rhonda Ingram of High Point are proud to own a NC Century Farm. Their strawberry operation has been ongoing for nearly 40 years. With the grant funds they plan to add blackberries, providing their customers with a summer fruit option. The Ingram’s produce can found at Piedmont Triad Farmer’s Market and Peach Tree Farmer’s Market.
  • Wayne Worley, of Princeton received a small grant to add a U-pick strawberry field. Worley’s new field is located off of HWY 70 near Princeton.
  • Susan Weaver Ford, of Kenly is a third generation tobacco farmer. When the quota system was eliminated Susan diversified by adding a crop of peas. With the grant award she plans to expand her farm crops to include string beans and butter beans.
  • Thomas Pierce from Jamesville grows strawberries, tomatoes, collards, cabbage, melons, corn and potatoes. He operates a road side produce stand from mid-April to the end of November. With the grant funds he will purchase a walk-in vegetable cooler and ice machine. J and J Farms produce stand is located off of Hwy 64 E. and Pierce Lane.
  • Smith Farm, in Stoneville has been a family farm since before the Civil War. They grew tobacco from 1820 through the 1980’s. Today, they grow 10 acres of certified organic produce. With the grant funds, they plan to add a high tunnel greenhouse to grow USDA Certified Organic greens and vegetables year round.
  • Kevin Hobbs of Faison will use the grant funds to repurpose three greenhouses from growing tobacco transplants to growing specialty produce. As the farm operation moves away from tobacco, this transition will provide year-round cash-flow and work opportunities.
  • Kim Davis of Fremont received a small grant to develop a new business, Greenhouse Transplant Tray Steaming Services. Davis realized that tray steaming had become a necessity for tobacco growers since the original process to control pathogens, using methyl bromide is no longer available. Control of disease pathogens can be achieved by tray steaming at 175 degrees for 30 minutes. Davis, who has been growing tobacco transplants since 1990 will offer the service to tobacco growers in the region.
  • Cullin Williford from Elm City received a small grant to diversify his family farm with three new crops, squash, cabbage and onions. The produce will be marketed to grocery stores and wholesalers under the brand name Sugar Hill. Cullin hopes that the Sugar Hill brand will become known for produce of high quality and good taste.

Nurseries and Sod

  • Hickory Creek Farm in Greensboro is a NC Certified Century Farm Family. Last year, Kevin Gray planted old tobacco fields with Christmas trees for a future choose-and-cut operation. He plans to use the grant funds to build a greenhouse for growing poinsettias. He hopes that one day his farm will be a one-stop location for NC grown farm products for the holiday season.
  • Shepard Barbour of Clayton will use the grant funds to diversify the family farm operation by incorporating a turf grass/sod business. Six acres of Bermuda sod are planted; Shepard intends to plant another 10-15 acres this spring. The sod operation is located near the old Cleveland School.

Specialty Crops

  • Brenda Sutton and husband Rex Inman from Reidsville have been cultivating a mushroom growing enterprise since 2004. They have worked diligently to educate the public about mushrooms and build a local market for Shiitake mushrooms. With the grant funds they plan to build a Geodesic shaped dome with a climate controlled environment that will enable them to grow mushrooms year round.
  • David Batts from Macclesfield, and owner of Old House Honey received a small grant to expand his bee pollination service from 25 to 100 hives. The service is available to horticulture farms in Wilson County and surrounding areas.

Community Grants

  • N.C. Cooperative Extension of Lenoir County received a small community grant to purchase portable cattle handling equipment that can be rented and transported to farms with small herds. The equipment allows the farmer to restrain and safely provide proper care such ear tagging, vaccinating and de-worming. Lenoir County Extension staff, under the advisement of the Lenoir County Livestock Development Association and the Pitt/Greene Cattlemen’s Association will manage the day-to-day oversight of the program.
  • Stokes Future received a small community grant to purchase a trailer for the Stokes Future Farmer’s Market.
  • The Cattlemen’s Association of Johnston County received a small community grant to purchase portable cattle handling equipment that can be rented and transported to farms with small herds. The equipment allows the farmer to restrain and safely provide proper care such ear tagging, vaccinating and de-worming. The Johnston County Cattlemen’s Association along with Cooperative Extension and County Government will manage the day-to-day oversight of the program.