The Young Farmer of the Day program is a new addition to the Got To Be N.C. Festival. The program, sponsored by Farm Credit, recognizes three young farmers who work hard everyday to impact our state’s agriculture industry & blaze the trail for a strong future. Individuals either nominated themselves or were nominated by members of the community. One young farmer will be recognized each day of the Got To Be N.C. Festival, taking place May 20-22, 2022 at the N.C. State Fairgrounds!
For over 100 years, the Williams family has been growing a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables on their farm in Autryville. From watermelons, cantaloupe and strawberries to sweet potatoes, butternut squash and bell peppers, this family provides many locally grown and raised products to their customers through their on-site produce market. Leah Williams has been working on the farm for as long as she can remember and developed a passion for the industry that has helped shape her career on the family farm.
For over twenty-two years, Leah has been working alongside her mother and father at Williams Produce Farm. “Agriculture has not only been a part of my life for 22 years but it has become something that I am passionate about and want to continue,” she said. “I really enjoy providing fresh quality produce to not only my community but surrounding communities as well.” After attending the University of Mount Olive and graduating with a degree in Agriculture Business Management, she came home to the family farm where she has used her education to help grow and expand the business in many ways.
Strawberries are a recent endeavor for the Williams family. In fact Leah grew them for the first time this past spring and was very successful in marketing them to the community. She also started her own produce box delivery service that takes fresh produce, including strawberries, to a variety of local businesses. “I want to continue ‘ag’vocating for our state’s agriculture industry through services like this as well as agritourism on the farm,” she said. “Not only do I want to help educate the community but I want to interact with them and get them involved.” She has also helped to establish a fall market on the farm with hay rides and pumpkins that brings visitors to the farm each fall.
Although farming can have its challenges, Leah enjoys the beauties that can be seen through both the good and the hard times. “The thing that I love most about agriculture is that you can really see how God provides and how He is faithful in any circumstance,” she said. “With farming you face many challenges and that is something that I embrace because it allows me to grow in my faith while facing and overcoming the challenges that farming can bring.” She also enjoys the reward of providing fresh products to the community and seeing the smiles on the faces of all those who come to visit the family farm.
In the future, Leah plans to continue expanding wholesale and retail sales on the family farm while interacting with the community and blazing the trail for the future of N.C. Agriculture. She is excited for the opportunity to reach new members of the community through the honor of being named the Got To Be N.C. Festival Young Farmer of the Day. We are proud of all of her hard work and look forward to seeing where the future of agriculture takes her and her family at Williams Produce Farm.