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Vick Family Farms continuing a proud tradition

With 45 years of family tradition behind it, Vick Family Farms pays close attention to detail. Those in the family feel that is what sets it apart from others in the industry. The Wilson, NC-based company prides itself on hard work, integrity and providing great service.

“We always strive for the best quality on a consistent basis,” said Charlotte Vick, a partner for the company. “All four owners of Vick Family Farms are managers and either in the fields or in the packing facilities always seeing to it the best job is done to achieve the best product for our customers around the world.”

Currently, the biggest buzz around the state concerns the 2018 sweet potato crop, which is short. Packers and shippers are doing what they can to keep their customers supplied for as long as possible this summer.

IMG 3175 “For Vick Family Farms, we hope to be able to ship until new crop is cured and ready to be packed,” Vick said. “We have tried to manage inventory thru the year to keep our committed customers a consistent supply.”

Business for the company was excellent in 2018, though the entire year was very challenging with weather and low prices.

“We have been very fortunate that the crop has held up very well in storage thus far, which has helped us extend this crop further into the shipping season than most originally thought would be possible,” Vick said. “Quality has been excellent and good pack outs always helps. Many growers are out of sweet potatoes already this season and due to the short crop and high demand across the country, prices have been much better than the last couple of years.”

Planting for the new season has started and all at Vick Family Farms hope to have a good crop and see prices remain at a profitable level for 2019.

“It is hard to predict what will happen in 2019 because as we all know there are a lot of days left in the 2019 crop and anything can happen,” Vick said. “The weather has certainly been a challenging factor the last few years; however, we cannot control Mother Nature. We have to adapt to the circumstances and work hard to try and overcome results due to weather related issues to a crop.”

This year, the company is looking to increase its organic sales and remains focused on growing good quality conventional sweet potatoes. It credits being in the state with helping Vick Family Farms continue to be successful year after year.

“We partner with NC State University’s CALS Program that is always on the cutting edge with technology,” Vick said. “That, our great Department of Agriculture, which offers so much support to our industry, good soil and excellent farmers helps the state’s agribusiness thrive.”

Vick Family Farms ship sweet potatoes along the East Coast, to the Midwest, and 60 percent of its sales are exports into Germany, the UK, Holland, France and Ireland.

“Many of those exports are then transshipped to many other countries,” Vick said. “Being located in eastern North Carolina with the excellent soil helps our business grow good crops and our location along Interstate 95 and close by ports is convenient for shipping.”

Vick said most in the industry hope that prices will remain at the levels they are at today to be able to be profitable.

“So many farmers are exiting now due to low commodity prices. If the sweet potato industry is going to continue growth and be able to offer superior quality, then the crop has to be a profitable crop or growers will stop growing them,” she said. “There are high input cost in growing sweet potatoes and growers do not have a strong tobacco industry in Eastern North Carolina to lean on now to pay for their sweet potato crop. The crop needs to be able to support itself.”