At the time Jerome became ill, Vick Family Farms was about 3,500 acres. In the decade since his return to the farm, the operation has almost doubled in size.

In the past few years, Vick Family Farms has won numerous national, state and local awards. Among them are the North Carolina Farm Family of the Year, National Young Farmer of the Year, and designation as a North Carolina Soil Conservation Farm.

A visit to the farming headquarters makes it evident that doing things right is a high priority. Not only the crops are kept in pristine condition, but also the equipment, the sweet potato packing operation and tobacco barns, and even the headquarters building and grounds.

“We were taught to do things right, and to do things timely,” Lyn says. “If we do everything we can for a crop and for our land, then Mother Nature will treat us right when she can.”

In the future, farming in general and cotton farming in particular will present many challenges to growers, he says.

“The great thing about farming is that we have the ability to make changes in our operations to overcome these challenges — most of the time.”

Asked about the ultimate challenge of feeding 9 billion people on Planet Earth by 2050, Lyn says, “Bring it on! If we can get the right political support, farmers can feed the world — and clothe it too.”