Agriculture Revolves Around the Family Farm


Did you know the vast majority of farms in the United States and here in North Carolina are family owned and operated?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture classifies family farms as any farm organized as a sole proprietorship, partnership or family corporation. The USDA states family farms exclude farms organized as nonfamily corporations or cooperatives, as well as farms with hired managers.

Under this definition, federal officials report that family farms account for almost 96 percent of the 2,204,792 farms in the United States.

Models of successful family farms that are part of that total can be found throughout North Carolina.

For example, there is the Kornegay family, Wayne County Farm Bureau members, from Princeton. Three generations— D. Frank Kornegay, Danny Kornegay and Dan Kornegay—all join forces to cultivate more than 5,000 acres mostly in Wayne and Johnston counties, as well as cropland in South Carolina. The Kornegay family raises sweet potatoes, cotton, tobacco, soybeans and corn and also serves as a contract swine grower with Goldsboro Milling.

On the other side of the state is Avery County Farm Bureau board member John Dellinger, who operates Two D’s Nursery with his father, Herman, in Newland. Herman Dellinger and his brothers planted their first Fraser fir Christmas trees back in 1959 and served as the founders of the N.C. Christmas Tree Growers Association. John Dellinger has managed the operation full time since 1983.

“We help build memories,” John Dellinger says.

Tina Kornegay, Dan Kornegay’s wife, provides a glimpse of what the atmosphere is like for them, and probably countless other family farmers in North Carolina.

“We stay busy. It’s going on all the time, that’s for sure,” Tina Kornegay says.

So what keeps family farmers going?

“It’s a common goal of getting everything done,” Tina Kornegay says. “Everyone has an awesome work ethic. They love to work and love what they do. They love to farm.”

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