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Vick Family Farms is all about… family

Vick Family Farms is truly an example of a working farm family, as each one of its management divisions is led by a Vick family member.

“We each were raised on this farm that began very small and we have grown as it has grown into a large international business,” said Charlotte Vick, partner/sales and marketing manager at Vick Family Farms, based in Wilson, NC. “We each are invested in the company and truly care about our integrity, our growth, our responsibility and the sustainability of not only our business but the agriculture industry as a whole. We build relationships that last a lifetime and hope they will carry on into future generations.”

It’s that integrity that Vick considers the company’s most valuable asset and what has allowed the company to succeed and grow over the years.

IMG 0201 “We believe it is also our responsibility as American farmers to protect the land for future generations and to help ensure a safe and abundant food supply for the world,” she said. “One percent of the population feeds the other 99 percent; therefore, we need to be sustainable. As Thomas Jefferson once stated, ‘Farmers are the most valuable citizens.’”

 Vick Family Farms remains a leader in the sweet potato industry in both supply and innovation.

“We continue to grow in supplying the world with the best quality and safest sweet potatoes,” Vick said. “We also continue to see demand increasing, especially in eastern Europe, and we have expanded our operations to help meet the demands of our customers. Sweet potatoes are such a healthy food source, it has seen growth around the world.”

The company is currently in the middle of its sweet potato shipping season, coming off the holiday season, which is its busiest time of year.

“Demand domestically was good,” Vick said. “The international market has been more of a challenge so far this season but that should improve over the next few weeks.”

As with any commodity, as demand and income grow, other farms across the world start planting the crop looking to enter the segment. This was a challenge for Vick Family Farms this past fall on the EU market and could be a challenge for the company in the years to come.

“With labor challenges in the U.S., this could be a huge obstacle that we face in the near future,” Vick said. “We need labor reform that includes wages that are sustainable for the farmer to be able to afford. It is becoming more difficult in our packing facilities to find adequate labor and we are now working on ideas on how to automate some of this in the future.”

Today, the company employs a lot of labor to hand harvest its crops and believe this is the best way to ensure quality produce. And that’s a key to success.

“Our founder, my dad, has always taught us that success was spelled ‘hard work’ and ‘ambition,’” Vick said. “He has told the dean of CALS at NC State that ambition is a class that needed to be taught there. A farmer holds many job titles in a day and has to be good at all of them to succeed. They also have to be willing to change over time and adapt to many different circumstances. Each year is different and if you cannot adapt to that you will never be successful in farming.”