Spotlight: North River Farms
Hometown: Mills River, NC
Size of Operation: 1600 Acres
Years in Business: 20+
Years Working with Farm Credit: 20+
Jason Davis of North River Farms in Mills River, North Carolina, has packed a lot into 20 years of farming. He’s built a thriving, 1600-acre farm from the ground up. His diversified operation of quality hay for livestock, including for the nearby growing equine region of the state, soybeans, corn, and barley along with a large u-pick and farmers market operation featuring strawberries and a variety of vegetables, helps him spread his business risk over a lot of different crops. Added to the mix is an agritourism component that not only helps generate revenue, it helps introduce people in the region to a working farm.
An agricultural ambassador is a role Jason takes seriously. He serves on numerous agricultural-related boards and volunteers with the local fire department. He opens up North River Farms each year for not only the usual u-pick fields and farm tours but an annual Mills River Day in May that features u-pick strawberries, a tractor show, farm animals, farm display and equipment, farm tours, food trucks, live music and loads of other fun features. Jason says he is excited to bring people to the farm to teach them where their food comes from. His outdoor outfitters division teaches folks about natural resource management and gives them a chance to enjoy the trout stream that runs through his farm.
“Jason is extremely well informed when it comes to farm issues and he involves the community on his farm,” says Farm Credit Loan Officer Bruce Arrington. “He had thousands at his farm festival, which is geared toward families. He values the community and represents agriculture in such a positive role. His operation is so well run. He respects the land, and the community can clearly see how he values farming and the environment. He is not locked into old ways of farming; he is constantly open to trying different things.”
This hard-working farmer doesn’t take any of his success for granted. Several years ago, he experienced a devastating loss when a massive barn fire destroyed a lot of his assets. “Farm Credit stood right beside us and enabled us to rebuild,” he says. “We’re very grateful for the relationship that we’ve had with Farm Credit through the years.”
Jason and his wife, Chae, who serves as mayor of Mills River, both contribute to preserving Mills River’s rural character and its support of the agricultural community for both current and future generations.