The Johnston County Farm-City Week committee recently honored Stevens Sausage Company represented by from left: Anita Stevens, N.S. Stevens, Carolyn Stevens, Neppie Stevens, Tim Stevens, Betsy Stevens, Sloan Stevens, Mike Stevens and David Stevens for its contributions to the local agricultural economy.
The Johnston County Farm-City Week committee recognized two families at a recent banquet. The Kornegay Family Farms of Princeton and Stevens Sausage Company of Smithfield were recognized for significant contributions to the local agricultural economy through either agribusiness or farming, announced Johnston County Cooperative Extension Director, Bryant Spivey.
Frank Kornegay began farming in 1963 when he bought a 60-acre farm outside Princeton, which he tended to while also working for Universal Leaf Tobacco Company in Goldsboro. After he retired from Universal in 1973, Kornegay began farming full-time with his son Danny Kornegay. With more than 100 employees currently helping tend approximately 5,000 acres, the farm has expanded over the years, but it still requires active involvement from all members of the family. Kornegay continues to work alongside his son and his grandson Dan Kornegay in the field, while Danny’s wife Susie and daughter Kim manage the office.
Kornegay Family Farms produces tobacco, sweet potatoes, soybeans, wheat, corn, and cotton. They have their own Global GAP certified sweet potato packing facility and four swine finishing floors with Goldsboro Milling Company. The Kornegays have been recognized as a River Friendly Farmer by the Johnston Soil and Water Conservation District, and participated in Philip Morris USA’s 2011 Grower Council. In 2012, the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina named the Kornegays Farm Family of the Year.
Stevens Sausage Company was recognized for their support of the agricultural economy through the processing of meat products, as well as community organizations in Johnston County. Following his return from the Korean War, N.S. Stevens founded Stevens Sausage Company. He used the recipes that his father had perfected years earlier. What initially began as a single truck delivering hand-mixed sausage to local stores has now become a company that processes the largest variety of pork sausage, souse, chitterlings, smoked sausage, hot dogs, hot dog chili, and country hams in North Carolina. Approximately 100 employees produce 400,000 pounds of finished product a week. Their products are shipped as far west as Mississippi, and from Florida to New York, where their country hams are particularly popular. Locally, six trucks run routes in eastern North Carolina. Despite this growth, Stevens Sausage Company has remained a true family business, and is currently managed by N.S.’ sons Mike, Tim, and David, and Mike’s son Sloan. Stevens Sausage Company gives back to the local community by sponsoring the Johnston Community College Foundation Neal Lancaster Golf Tournament, Smithfield Kiwanis Country Ham Supper, and the Smithfield Ham and Yam Festival.
In Johnston County agriculture and the greater agribusiness industry are part of a tremendous partnership that accounts for roughly 15 percent of the Johnston County economy and 16.5 percent of county employment. Agriculture generates over $240 million each year at the farm level, according to Spivey.