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Tobacco museum fundraiser tops $37K

Sharp, Phillips earn agriculture awards

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KENLY — Although all receipts and expenses have not been finalized, preliminary estimates indicate that more than $37,000 was raised for the Tobacco Farm Life Museum at the 14th annual Breakfast with the Commissioner fundraiser held Friday at the state fairgrounds in Raleigh.

More than 470 people attended the breakfast — its largest crowd by far, according to Melody Worthington, the museum’s executive director and curator.

The breakfast awards banquet was held in conjunction with the 2019 Southern Farm Show.

“I have a great appreciation for all the people that come out each year to support the Tobacco Farm Life Museum,” said N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “This event is for a good reason and I am so proud to see such a big crowd here today.”

“The museum is important because it preserves the history and legacy of our farm families and its educational programs and preservation of artifacts and historic buildings contribute to our understanding of the important role agriculture plays in the life of all North Carolinians,” said Troxler. “Visiting the museum allows us to better understand some of the hardships our previous farm families went through.”

Pender Sharp of Sims-based Sharp Farms received the Excellence in Agriculture Award sponsored by Southern Bank. Sharp, who is manager and treasurer of his family-owned farm,was honored for his involvement in the promotion and growth of North Carolina’s agriculture community.

“Pender Sharp always goes above and beyond in helping the tobacco industry fight for what is right for our families,” said Troxler.

Joshua Phillips of Kenly-based Sonlight Farms and Holland Farms received the Innovative Young Farmer of the Year Award sponsored by Farm Credit Associations of North Carolina.

Phillips was chosen for the award based on his dedication to the progression of technology and accuracy in agriculture and educational outreach and for sharing the story of agriculture to young people at Sonlight Farms.

Troxler also used the occasion to thank North Carolina legislators for their assistance to farmers following last year’s hurricanes and storms.

“We are grateful to Commissioner Troxler for lending his name to this event,” said museum board Chairman Susan Ford. “This is the museum’s biggest fundraiser and we thank him.”

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