Young Farmer of the Day: Stephen Jones with Beaufort County Organics

by | May 19, 2024

Each year at the Got to Be NC Festival, we recognize three young farmers between the ages of 18 and 40 through our Young Farmer of the Day Program, presented by AgCarolina Farm Credit and AgSouth Farm Credit. These young farmers work hard every single day to further the N.C. Agriculture industry and build upon it as the next generation of leaders. Come out during the Got to Be NC Festival this year, May 17-19th, at the N.C. State Fairgrounds to help us recognize them and say thank you for all their hard work! 

Stephen Jones, owner and operator of Beaufort County Organics, grew up with a strong knowledge of agriculture and appreciation for the hard work of farmers. With many generations of his family working on their farmland in Blounts Creek, Stephen’s history is laced with agricultural heritage. Although his family pursued agriculture for many years, the last person to work on the family farm prior to Stephen taking over was his great-grandfather. “I worked in the manufacturing and engineering industry until I was twenty-two years old,” Stephen said. “My family had been renting the farmland out for the last two generations since my grandparents and parents chose different paths. However, when I turned twenty-two and some of my family started to die off, I saw an opportunity in the farm to reignite a legacy.” As an only child, Stephen saw a way to connect back to his roots through the farm and he hasn’t looked back since.

Seven years later, Beaufort County Organics is not only a fully-functioning and successful farm, but also a staple in the community for local produce. Stephen currently grows a variety of plants in the nursery on-site and many delicious produce items, including radishes, tomatoes, lettuce, and spinach. “It’s amazing to look back and see that I got this farm back up and running with less than 10k and a dream,” he said. “I take so much pride in growing nothing into something. Watching the creation unfold and the dream come to life has been the biggest blessing.” As many across the agriculture industry know, farming can come with a plethora of challenges, especially when starting an operation from the ground up. Although Stephen faced a variety of obstacles, his determination and passion for the industry brought him through each one more successful than when he started. “Agriculture presents many challenges, but with that comes the ability to fail,” he said. “Being able to have a rough year and start back fresh the next year brings a sense of rejuvenation on the farm. I enjoy the challenge of it and appreciate how each one makes me stronger.”

Products from Beaufort County Organics can be found on-site at the farm in Blounts Creek, at the Harbor District Market in Washington and at the New Bern Farmers Market. Although Stephen is still young in his career, he has big dreams and plans for the future of the farm. “I want this farm to become a multi-production farm with a farm store on sight run by my family and loved ones,” he said. “I would also love to develop ways for people to come and experience agriculture here on the farm through on-site farm dinners featuring local chefs/restaurants in the area, farm tours, and workshops educating on agriculture and mycology (the study of mushrooms and how they are grown/harvested).” He is currently working to expand his production on the farm to include indoor mushroom cultivation, so keep an eye on his Facebook page for the first steps and harvest in future months! “I will always push for eating local and getting to know your farmer,” he said. “I want people to know that I am open and willing to talk about my process and what I grow. I produce trustworthy products not just for my family, but for theirs as well.”

Look for Stephen on the grounds at the Got to Be NC Festival today and catch him riding in the Got to Be NC pickup truck during the 1 p.m. tractor parade! If you see him on the grounds, be sure to thank him for all of his hard work. If you’re interested in agriculture, ask questions and get Stephen’s advice on starting a farm or agribusiness. We are so proud of how he is furthering the future of our state’s number one industry and serving as an inspiration for the upcoming generation of agricultural leaders!