The Farm Family of the Day program is a new addition to the N.C. State Fair. The program recognizes 11 farm families who work hard everyday to impact our state’s agriculture industry. Families either nominated themselves or were nominated by members of the community. The program is sponsored by Tractor Supply Company and will run from October 14-24, 2021.
Hoggard Farm in Ahoskie is an agriculture haven growing over 100 acres of various crops, including tobacco, peanuts, soybeans and corn. The farm, owned by Robert Earl and Carolyn Brinkley, was worked for many years by the Brinkley family. In fact, it can be traced to the early 1900’s, when the farm was deeded to Doug Brinkley’s great-great-grandfather.
Hoggard Farm as it stands today is named after him. “We know that this farm has been in our family much longer than the early 1900’s, but we can’t prove that on paper because of the Hertford County Courthouse fire in 1830,” said Doug Brinkley, son of farm owners, Robert and Carolyn, “however, it has meant a lot to our family through the years and continues to hold a special place in our heart today.”
Both Robert, 90, and Carolyn, 88, grew up on the farm and have always loved the hard work and lifestyle that it provided. “We farmed until my father felt like he physically could not do it anymore,” Doug said. “So, today, we rent out all our farms to other farming families, but we still hold a rich history and deep connection with the land.”
Robert worked the farm in addition to other full-time jobs for many years. He even started his own farm management business, REB Farms Inc., which he still owns and operates today.
Carolyn grew up learning the ins and outs of the industry from her father and grandfather. “They only knew the farm life and had never done anything else but farm,” Doug said. “We actually still have the tractors that he farmed with and have added many more antique tractors to the collection since.” Between Doug and his father, the farm is home to 12 antique tractors with the oldest one being a 1937 John Deere B.
Hoggard Farm was recently inducted into the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Century Farm Program for their 100- plus year’s of family service to the agriculture industry. “We are proud that soil is still under our fingernails and farming still in our blood,” Doug said. “The renter of our farm knows the pride and love that we have in watching the soil produce as it did for our family over these 100 plus years.”
The farmland renters aren’t the only ones who are aware of the Brinkley families love of agriculture. According to Doug, the entire community has been their support system from the beginning and continues to understand and appreciate the dedication of the family to the land.
“We live in a family community that knows the heritage behind our family,” Doug said. “They know the hard work, community involvement and love that we have for farming.”
This heart and soul for agriculture is one of the reasons this family was selected to represent the industry as a 2021 N.C. State Fair Farm Family of the Day.
The N.C. State Fair continues to be a tradition for the Brinkley family, with Doug bringing his daughter to the fair every year just like his parents did. “We didn’t miss many fairs in my childhood,” he said, “and we instilled that same tradition in my daughter who is now 29 and can’t wait for the fair this year!” They enjoy all aspects of the fair each year, but appreciate the way it celebrates the pride and accomplishments of farmers across our state. If you see the Brinkley family today on the fairgrounds be sure to thank them for all their hard work through the years. We are honored to have them as a N.C. Farm Family of the Day and look forward to seeing their families name and impact in the agriculture industry for years to come!