Frank Kornegay was Danny’s father. He passed away in 2014, but just as Frank was never far from his fields, he now is never far from our minds and hearts. We keep his spirit alive through the retelling of his stories and striving to live the life lessons he taught – both as a farmer and a man.
Frank helped his father on a small, successful farm as he was growing up. They used mules on their farm and one day Frank decided there might be something out there better than a mule. He worked several jobs in the neighboring city of Goldsboro, North Carolina. One of those jobs led Frank to meet his wife, Helen. Frank eventually ended up at the Universal Leaf Tobacco Company as a floor supervisor grading tobacco. Working with the “golden leaf” renewed his passion for farm life. His father gave him some land, and Frank began farming at night after his workday in the city was over. A family friend has commented that, “Frank plowed more tobacco land at night than most farmers did during the day.”
Although, Frank enjoyed his day job, the farming life was where he belonged. So in the 1960s, Frank bought 60 acres of farmland. Then, like he and his father … Frank and his son Danny began farming together.
Over the years, those 60 acres of Johnston County farmland became over 5,000. Danny, and the best farm-wife ever, Susie, had two children, Dan and Kim – who are both on the farm. Along the way, the family has also added five grandsons! Kornegay Family Farms grows sweet potatoes, tobacco, soybeans, cotton, wheat and peanuts. The farm also has four swine finishing floors.
Kornegay Family Produce’s brand, “Family Pride Sweet Potatoes,” is relatively new – but the Kornegays’ sweet potato farming excellence and tradition is well established. With a network of partner-growers, Kornegay Family Produce farms over 1,500 acres. As the farmland expands, so do the farm’s operations and marketing. In 2007, the Kornegays added our sweet potato packing line, and now our sweet potatoes are in kitchens across America as well as around the world.
The family farming heritage proudly keeps growing, too. Danny and Susie Kornegay’s five grandsons are always eager to work and learn on the farm. As a family, we are proud to pass along to this new generation what Frank taught us … the farming techniques that produce high quality yields, but more importantly the farming values that stand the test of time – hard work, dedication, honesty, and most of all … faith.