Scott Farms is a sixth-generation family farm based in Lucama, North Carolina growing sweet potatoes, tobacco, wheat, soybeans, and corn. Linwood “Sonny” Scott, Jr, along with his wife, Alice, and sons, Linwood, III and Dewey, are co-owners and the backbone of the modern farming, production, and packing operations.
Dating back to the Civil War era, the Scott family has been a steadfast symbol of what farm life in Eastern N.C. represents. The Scott Farms legacy originated when Robert “Bob” Lee and Emma Scott began raising tobacco in Wilson, Wayne, and Johnston counties. Representing the agricultural heritage of the Scotts before him, Bob set in motion the lineage of great American farmers to follow. With his son, Elijah, to whom he taught the virtues of hard work, Bob laid the foundation for a future that is thriving today.
Elijah Scott, like his father, was a tremendous and loyal farmer. Living and working on the farm all his life, Elijah became one of the most notable farmers in the region. Beginning with only a share of 275 acres divided among siblings as a gift from his father, Elijah began producing some of the finest crops of tobacco in Wilson County. His fervent work ethic, attention to detail, and pride in quality are attributes he passed on to his children and ultimately his grandchildren. All of these beliefs continue to guide the efforts of the modern farm today.
Elijah believed in moving forward and leaving a legacy. His son, Linwood H. Scott, Sr., was no different. After serving in the United States Army during World War II, Linwood, Sr. returned to the family farm and became very active in the farming and in local communities. Enjoying the freedoms he fought to preserve and the ones farm life provided, Linwood, Sr. carried the torch for growth in agriculture while maintaining the balance of hard work and family. Embracing the bond he cherished with his children and a strong desire to see the future of Scott Farms become something more, Linwood, Sr. taught his son, Linwood “Sonny” Scott, Jr., the intricacies of farming and the benefits of a close-knit family. These lessons, along with knowledge gained, combined with a strong sense of heritage have served Sonny well.
Sonny got his start in farming at an early age. Tending the fields with his father were times both held dear. Growing up learning the lessons of his father, the former North Carolina Young Farmer of the Year was set on following in the family footsteps. After a time away from the family farm while serving a tour of duty in the United States Army Reserve, Sonny returned to the roots that ran ever so deep on the farm. In 1968, he married the former Alice Honeycutt and the life of the modern Scott Farms was born. Believing as his father and grandfather before him, Sonny wanted more for the family farm. Continuing with the mindset that hard work and a quality product were what the Scott name represented, he set plans in motion to incorporate the farm.
Incorporating the farm and moving toward the future were logical steps in the vision he had planned. Farm land expansion followed, new crops were added, and by the end of 1985 the vision was becoming reality. It all began to take shape when the traditionally tobacco-and-soybean-based farm took the leap into the sweet potato farming realm. Beginning with 15 acres of sweet potatoes, Sonny was setting the stage for long-term growth of the farm. Not discounting the beliefs of his father and grandfathers before him, Sonny taught the love of farming and family to his own sons, Linwood Scott, III and Dewey Scott.
Linwood, III and Dewey, like their father, had the farming bug early on in life. Linwood quickly became a distinguished farmer and member of the agribusiness community in his own right. Working with his father and the heritage of his ancestors that farmed the same land, Linwood, III has emerged as one of the most respected farmers in the country. Winning the United States National Young Farmer of the Year award in 2000 sets him in an elite class, but humility and focus on being the best farmer, husband, father, and citizen he can be is his true driving force. Taking the reigns of creating an environment at Scott Farms where hard work is rewarded and quality is the standard, Linwood, III is also setting the stage for future growth.
Like his father and brother, Dewey is no stranger to hard work and dedication. The graduate of Barton College and the North Carolina State University CALS’ Leadership Development Program rejoined the family farm in 1996. Leading the process of the new micro-propagation operation, Dewey quickly made a name for himself. With more than ten years of sweet potato production under their belt at the time, the brothers, along with Sonny, began making more plans for expansion in the industry. In September 2013, Dewey was well on his way to leading those expansion plans to fruition. Over the next 18 months, construction of a new 60,000 square-foot packing and shipping facility took shape. Transitioning to the new facility was complete in April 2015 and the future envisioned so long ago was now a reality.
Today, Scott Farms ranks as one of the largest farms in the region at more than 14,000 acres in farmland. Expansion in sweet potato production and modernization of farms have been in the forefront of agriculture in recent years. Things are no different at Scott Farms. The construction of the new technology-driven packing facility on the family farm, eight miles southwest of Wilson, is one of the many things being done to ensure growth of the farm for generations to come. Harvesting more than 3,200 acres of sweet potatoes and over 4,000 acres of tobacco and other crops each year, the fruits of that labor have led to the modernization of the family farm to one of GPS guidance systems on tractors and computer-operated packing lines.
Combined with the domestic marketing of sweet potatoes the Scotts have ventured into the international space and set up a marketing and sales office in the United Kingdom. Accounting for more than half the total farm’s sales from sweet potatoes, the international sector continues to grow. Growing into new spaces and locations has been at the core of the recent successes of the continued growth of the farm. Sonny, the company’s president, describes the farm’s growth and mission as one that has and will stand the test of time. “Our farm is a whole family operation that has spanned the three generations before me and will allow future generations to learn our business and understand we never sacrifice quality. Volumes in production may increase, but there will always be the same quality customers have come to expect, while offering a safe and dependable supply to the marketplace. We pride ourselves on service and treating people the way we would like to be treated. With our state-of-the-art facility, Scott Farms will be able to serve the consumer more efficiently with a safe, traceable supply of products and give great customer service at the same time.”
From Robert Lee to Sonny’s grandchildren and the generations between, Scott Farms has been and will always be a farm that believes in hard work and a dedication to quality. Planning for the future of today, tomorrow, and beyond began many generations ago and that vision still remains.