Next Gen Ag: Carrying on a Family Legacy

by | Jul 3, 2024

Next Gen Ag is a year long series that will run on our In The Field blog, Facebook page, Instagram page and Twitter account. Each Wednesday, we will highlight a young person pursuing a career in the agriculture industry. Individuals can be in high school, college, or recent graduates who are working to establish a career in agriculture. Stay tuned each week to meet some of our industry’s future leaders!

Davis Williams is a name you might recognize from Williams Produce Farm in Autryville. As a fourth-generation farmer, Davis has been immersed in agriculture and always known it was his passion. Today, he is working hard towards pursuing a future that will not only further our state’s number one industry, but also keep the legacy of farming alive on his family farm for many generations to come.

By the time he was six years old, Davis was helping plant, grow and harvest crops on the family farm. Williams Produce Farm is well-known in the community for growing a variety of crops, including sweet potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, pumpkins, squash, and watermelons. “I have loved agriculture all my life,” Davis said. “I learned a lot about farming and agriculture from my grandparents and parents on the farm. It’s an honor to continue to work with them and learn from them every day.” Williams Produce Farm is still very much a family operation. Both of Davis’s grandparents continue to help on the farm as well as his parents. Davis also has a sister who recently graduated from the University of Mount Olive with a degree in Agribusiness. She is now working full-time on the farm and hoping to expand their agritourism business. “Working alongside my family every day brings me a lot of pride and joy,” David said. “I hope it is something that will continue for many years to come and involve future generations.”

When Davis began high school at Midway High School in Newton Grove, he immediately became involved in FFA to continue harnessing his love of agriculture. “I was a part of FFA all four years of high school and really learned a lot about agriculture as well as solid life skills through the program,” he said. “I even competed in the Truck and Tractor competition through FFA for two years. My junior year of high school I won both at the state level, which made me the first person known in FFA history to win both competitions in the same year!” The tractor is Davis’s happy place, whether working on the mechanics or plowing a field. In May of 2023, Davis graduated from Midway High School and started attending college at Sampson Community College.

As a freshman, Davis is learning a lot about Agribusiness through his major at Sampson Community College. Once he finishes his associate degree there, he hopes to transfer either to the University of Mount Olive or N.C. State University to continue furthering his education and receive a bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness. “We all need farmers. Without them we won’t have the food or resources to care for our families and people across the world,” Davis said. “I want to make sure I get as much as I can out of my education so that I can take that knowledge back home to the family farm and use it to better care for the community.” After college graduation, Davis plans to return full-time to the family farm and work on the row crop side of the operation. Although he loves working with all the crops, sweet potatoes are his favorite. “They are such a strong staple in N.C. Agriculture,” he said. “I love not only the fact that they are a year-round crop for our farm, but also the amazing taste and quality after harvest.” Davis’s end goal is to innovate and further Williams Produce Farm for future generations. He hopes to one day raise his own family on the farm and allow his children to have the same experiences that he had growing up. “I want to ensure that our family legacy on the farm stays prominent for many generations to come,” he said.

Entering the industry as a future leader and farmer, Davis brings many skillsets and talents to the table, including a hard work ethic, knowledge to operate farm machinery like tractors and forklifts, and the maintenance skills to manage most of the equipment when necessary. “When something breaks with our farm equipment, I am normally able to fix it,” he said. “Which I feel like is a big skillset to have this day and time when the machinery is becoming so much more complex with technology and advances.” Although he loves running the tractor all day, Davis’s favorite part of working in the agriculture industry is seeing the rewards of his hard work at harvest time. “There is nothing more rewarding than putting your blood, sweat and tears into a crop throughout the season and seeing it come through at harvest,” he said. “Reaping the rewards of our hard work generates a lot of pride in myself and our family.”

For anyone seeking a career in the agriculture industry, Davis reminds you to be prepared for a lot of hard work and patience. “Agriculture is not for the faint of heart,” he said .”Anyone can do it if they set their mind to it, but they need to be prepared to work hard everyday for what they want and have patience when it doesn’t exactly go the way they had planned. It’s a lot of ups and downs from year to year, but it’s 100% worth it at the end of each day.” We are so proud of Davis and all that he is doing to further our state’s agriculture industry. We look forward to seeing how him and his sister both will continue to grow Williams Produce Farm for years to come!