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Alice Scott, co-owner of Scott Farms in Lucama, has been named chairwoman of the North Carolina Farm Service Agency State Committee.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the appointment Jan. 5. Scott’s one-year term began on New Year’s Day.
“I am very excited about it,” Scott said on Wednesday. “It is always an honor for me to do anything to represent the agriculture community in Wilson County or in the state. I am very passionate about agriculture. It’s what we do and it’s what we know. I am very glad to have the opportunity to have a voice.”
State FSA committees are an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“The state committees will help to ensure USDA is providing our farmers, ranchers, foresters and agricultural producers with the best customer service,” Perdue said in a prepared statement. “They serve as a liaison between USDA and the producers in each state across the nation by keeping them informed and hearing their appeals and complaints. The committees are made up mostly of active farmers and ranchers, representing their peers and ensuring USDA’s programs are supporting the American harvest.”
Committee members are selected by the secretary of agriculture and serve at the secretary’s pleasure.
In October, Perdue joined North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler for a tour of sweet potato processing plant at Scott Farms, a sixth-generation family farm.
Scott Farms has 14,000 total production acres including 4,000 in just sweet potatoes. The company has international offices. It is the largest exporter of sweet potatoes to the United Kingdom. The company has a 60,000 square-foot packing facility with 2.2 million bushels of controlled storage and a 12-month supply of sweet potatoes.
“We have deep roots in agriculture” Scott said. “This operation is a family business as are most of the farms and agribusinesses in this county and this state. My husband and I, both our sons and both our daughters-in-law work on the farm. We are all involved in the day-to-day operations. I am very blessed. We get to work together and see each other every day.”
In addition to her work in agriculture, Scott is a devoted animal rescuer. She has served as president of the Wilson Humane Society, an organization she has worked with since the 1990s. She currently serves as a member of the Wilson Community School Board of Trustees, the University of Mount Olive advisory board and the Wilson County Fair board.
She will be celebrating her 50th anniversary of marriage to husband Linwood “Sonny” Scott, co-owner of Scott Farms, this year. The couple has two sons and five grandchildren.
“The first thing that I want to do is learn,” Scott said. “There is a lot to learn about this position. More than anything, I hope to find out what needs to be done and I hope our committee is able to address those needs.
“I am hoping that I will be able to help a lot of individuals. I think that is a lot of what this committee is all about.”
Scott said she is very anxious to have a first meeting and get to know the other members.
Other appointees include Jeffery Lee, of Benson, Nathan Ramsey, of Fairview, Richard Renegar, of Harmony, and Jeff Tyson, of Nashville.
Scott will be bringing to the committee her experiences from decades of work in the industry.
“We are met with a lot of challenges and a lot of planning that we have to work through,” Scott said. “Any time we get together as a family at holidays, I always say we’re not going to talk business, but that is always where the conversation winds up. That’s what we do. That’s what’s in our blood and most days that’s what we really love. I think the same things that we work with are some of the things that I am going to bring to this.”
Norman Harrell, director of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension office in Wilson County, said Scott will provide great leadership as the committee chair for the Farm Service Agency state committee.
“She has many years experience as a farmer and businesswoman and will provide great insight to the committee,” Harrell said. “This is great recognition to the quality of farms we have in Wilson County as she is succeeding Pender Sharp with Sharp Farms Inc. in Sims as the previous state committee chair,” Harrell said.