Pictured: (L-R)  Carolina Farm Credit CEO Vance Dalton, Dot Wester, Natalie Farmer, Jason Farmer, NC Department of Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, AgCarolina Farm Credit Sr. VP – Branch Lending Tim Pace, and Cape Fear Farm Credit CEO Evan Kleinhans


STATESVILLE, NC – The Farm Credit Associations of NC announce Jason Farmer as the recipient of the 2022 Innovative Farmer of the Year Award presented at The Tobacco Farm Life Museum’s breakfast with the Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler.

Jason and his wife, Natalie, operate Wester Farms in Louisburg. The farm grows tobacco, fresh market peppers, process market peppers, cucumbers, corn, wheat, soybeans, oats, and they cut approximately 1,200 acres of hay. They also run a cow calf herd of 600 head along with an 800 head stocker calf operation where they buy local farm raised calves from local cattle producers.

Charles Mitchell, Franklin County Cooperative Extension Director, nominated Jason for the innovative young farmer award. He states, “Jason, his family, and Wester Farms are a prime example of how agricultural innovations put in practice on the farm can inspire young and old farmers alike to be creative and make the needed changes to persevere in today’s agricultural world.”

In addition to his work on the farm, Jason advocates for agriculture as often as he can. Jason is a Franklin County Cooperative Extension Advisory Council Member, as well as a Franklin County Cooperative Extension Commercial Horticulture Advisory Member. He is on the board of directors for the North Carolina Soybean Producers Association and the North Carolina Ag Foundation.    

The CEOs of AgCarolina Farm Credit, Cape Fear Farm Credit, and Carolina Farm Credit are Dave Corum, Evan Kleinhans, and Vance Dalton respectively.  They issued the following joint statement regarding Farmer: “We are pleased to be able to recognize Jason Farmer as the 2022 Innovative Young Farmer of the Year. Jason and his family have experienced highs and lows both in agriculture and within their family. Their commitment to family and being a good steward of the land is to be commended. The agricultural industry in North Carolina is stronger because of innovative young farmers like Jason. We congratulate Jason and his family for this award and look forward to their achievements in the future.”

Carolina Farm Credit is a stockholder-owned cooperative providing financing to full and part-time farmers and agricultural-related businesses and also provides financing for the construction and purchase of homes in 54 counties through 29 branch offices. Appraisal and Leasing services are also available.

For over 100 years, Farm Credit has been supporting rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services. 

Carolina Farm Credit serves over 12,000 members with loans outstanding totaling more than $1.9 billion.  The association’s territory covers the western half of North Carolina, with branch offices located in Albemarle, Asheboro, Asheville, Browns Summit, Burnsville, Carthage, Conover, Ellerbe, Graham, Hendersonville, Jefferson, Lenoir, Lexington, Lincolnton, Monroe, Murphy, Pilot Mountain, Roxboro, Rural Hall, Salisbury, Shelby, Siler City, Sparta, Spindale, Statesville, Taylorsville, Wilkesboro, Yadkinville, and Yanceyville.

Directors for Carolina Farm Credit are Vickie N. Smitherman, Chair, East Bend: D. Kaleb Rathbone, Vice-Chair, Waynesville; John M. Barnard, Statesville; E. Bernard Beck, Seagrove; W. Rex Bell, Statesville; Mark A. Bray, Lawsonville; Andrew W. Burleson, New London; David M. Coltrane, Pleasant Garden; Leslie G. Sparks, DVM, Sparta; Joseph A. Lail, Shelby; Clark M. Newlin, Haw River; Thomas E. Porter, Jr., Concord;  Eric McPherson, Snow Camp; D. Kaleb Rathbone, Waynesville; L. Kim Starnes, Salisbury; Dr. Alton Thompson, Summerfield.