The N.C. Agricultural Hall of Fame will welcome its 35th member Tuesday. Vernon James (1910-2002), a longtime farmer, legislator and advocate for agriculture, will be enshrined in the hall during a ceremony at the Sen. Bob Martin Eastern Agricultural Center in Williamston. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler will preside at the ceremony.
James grew up on a farm in Pasquotank County and attended what is now N.C. State University. In 1931, he began operating a produce supply business. Later, he developed a trucking business, which he sold in 1958. That year, he organized the family farming corporation, which was known for potatoes and cabbage.
James served 12 terms in the state House of Representatives, from 1945-47 and 1973-95. During his tenure, he served as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and on several agriculture-related study committees.
He was also a participant in, and lifelong advocate for, 4-H. He was honored by that organization with alumni awards in 1954 and 1985.
James was the recipient of many other recognitions, including the Commissioner of Agriculture Award for Promotion of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables; Governor’s Award from the N.C. Agribusiness Council for Distinguished Service to Agribusiness; Award for Outstanding Contributions to the N.C. Soybean Association; and Farm Bureau Award for Distinguished Service to Agriculture.
James died in October 2002 at the age of 92, but his commitment to agriculture continues to be evident today at the Vernon G. James Research and Extension Center in Plymouth.
The N.C. Agricultural Hall of Fame was created by the General Assembly in 1953 to honor North Carolinians who have rendered distinguished service in the science and art of agriculture. Candidates for the hall must be deceased at least one year before they are eligible for membership.