Scott Farms earns state award for farmworker housing

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RALEIGH — Wilson County’s Scott Farms International has received an award from the N.C. Department of Labor for improving on-site housing for migrant farmworkers.

The Lucama farm owned and operated by Linwood “Sonny” Scott and Alice Scott earned the honor during the 24th annual Gold Star Growers meeting held Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at the state fairgrounds.

Awards are given to members of the agricultural community who voluntarily elect to provide housing that exceeds state standards for their migrant workers, the N.C. Department of Labor said in a news release.

These standards are required by law and are used during annual inspections performed by the department’s Agricultural Safety and Health Bureau.

“The Gold Star Growers are recognized each year for being the best of the best,” state Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said.

“They set an example of how to treat their workers like family by keeping their facilities clean and comfortable.”

At this year’s meeting, a total of 134 growers were awarded the Double Gold Star Grower Award, and a total of 106 were awarded the Single Gold Star Award. Double Gold Star growers are eligible for self-inspection of their housing in the upcoming year.

“We’ve selected these recipients from those farmers who voluntarily chose to go above and beyond the standard requirements,” said Agricultural Safety and Health Bureau Chief Beth Rodman.

Wilson County farmers earning labor department honors in 2017 were Pender Sharp of Sims-based Sharp Family Farms, who received the Gold Star Grower award for exceptional migrant housing, and Thomas Webb of Webb Family Farms near Stantonsburg, who received the award for best new housing in the state’s eastern half.

Scott Farms was one of two agricultural companies receiving special awards in 2018. Cone’s Folly Blueberries of Guilford County received the award for best new housing.