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2019 Innovative Young Farmer Award

The Farm Credit Associations of North Carolina announce Joshua Warren Phillips as the recipient of the 2019 Innovative Farmer of the Year Award presented at The Tobacco Farm Life Museum’s breakfast with the commissioner.

Joshua and his wife, April, own and operate Sonlight Farms.  The goal of Sonlight Farms is to educate families and young people on the importance of agriculture.  Joshua also manages Holland Farms, Inc.  He grows tobacco, corn, cotton, soybeans, and sweet potatoes.

Joshua’s father-in-law, Joey Holland, nominated him for the Innovative Farmer of the Year Award.  He stated, “I believe Joshua measures the success and management of his farming operations not in dollars, but by how successful the business is at providing quality employment, being a good steward of the land by leaving it better than he found it, and enhancing the community and educating children about agriculture.”

In addition to his work on the farm, Joshua is very active in his community.  He is a Deacon and Sunday School Teacher at Branch Chapel FWB Church, as well as being a member of the Wilson County Young Farmers, Kenly Area Chamber of Commerce, NC Agritourism Networking Association, and the NC Tobacco Growers Association.  

“I am very humbled and honored to receive this award,” stated Phillips.  “My faith and my family are the backbone of everything that I do.  I love to work on the farm and I am grateful we have the opportunity to impact students and young people through our work at Sonlight Farms.  We will continue to take pride in what we do on our farm and strive to always get a little bit better each day.  Thank you to Farm Credit for this award.”   

The CEOs of AgCarolina Farm Credit, Cape Fear Farm Credit, and Carolina Farm Credit are Dave Corum, Brad Cornelius, and Vance Dalton respectively.  They issued the following joint statement regarding Phillips: “It is an honor to be able to recognize Joshua Warren Phillips as the 2019 Innovative Young Farmer of the Year.  We admire the leadership and value-based approach Joshua takes with his family, as a professional in the field of agriculture, and as a leader in his community.  We congratulate Joshua and his family for this award and look forward to their achievements in the future.”

From left to right, CEO of AgCarolina Dave Corum, Senator Brent Jackson,  award recipient Joshua Warren Phillips and NC Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler
From left to right, Dave Corum CEO of AgCarolina; Senator Brent Jackson; Joshua Warren Phillips, award recipient; Steve Troxler, NC Commissioner of Agriculture