The Farm Family of the Day is sponsored by Tractor Supply Company and seeks to recognize and celebrate the state’s rich agricultural heritage and many farm families that are behind the state’s agriculture and agribusiness industry. One family is recognized each day of the Fair, either nominated themselves or by members of their community. Congratulations to the 2023 Farm Families!
Say hello to the first Farm Family of the Day of 2023, Willow Oaks Farm! Located in Fuquay-Varina, the family is a third-generation farm on both sides. Jeff Johnson bought the farm they are currently located at in the 1970s and Robin Johnson grew up on a pig and tobacco farm.
“We were tobacco farmers but wanted to diversify and share the love of our farm and agriculture with others,” Robin Johnson said. The farm grows small grains such as soybeans, sunflowers and pumpkins. The farm also has an ice cream shop, a preschool, child/parent farm classes and a farm-themed indoor play area.
Willow Oaks Farm offers many things to get children and families involved in agriculture. Since Jeff and Robin Johnson both come from families rooted in agriculture, the family aspect of their farms is something that they’re proud of.
Farms are families. This togetherness is something that Willow Oaks Farm is inspired by. Sharing the work that they do together as a family is one of their favorite parts about their operation. ”Not a lot of careers allow all family members, young and old, to participate and work as a team to build a future together. We love the life lessons farming teaches us every day and the satisfaction that it brings when you can see what is produced through your hard work. Farming has truly shaped who we are as a family,” Johnson said.
Willow Oaks Farms seeks to be a place the community can come and learn about farm animals, see farm equipment and even host events for agriculture education. “We have opportunities to shine light on agriculture and bring people to the farm; something this generation doesn’t get to do. We offer children hands-on learning opportunities about living on a farm and animal interactions to learn that eggs come from chickens and milk from cows,” Johnson said. The importance of family that Willow Oaks Farm has extends beyond their farm and into their daily lives. The North Carolina State Fair is a tradition that is loved by many, but for the Johnson family, it is the smells, atmosphere and ties to agriculture that makes it special. If you see the Johnsons on the opening day of the N.C. State Fair, be sure to say hello. We are honored to have them as the Farm Family of the Day for October 12th, thank you for your commitment to our states number one industry!