North Carolina Agricultural
Hall of Fame Inductees
VERNON G. JAMES
Vernon Grant James (1910-2002) was a passionate and loyal supporter of North Carolina agriculture and the people who worked in it. He developed that passion while growing up as one of 10 children on his family’s farm in Pasquotank County.
Active in the local 4-H club, Mr. James was elected state 4-H secretary-treasurer in 1929. In 1930, he was a delegate to the International Club Camp in Springfield, Mass. A year later he became a charter member in the state’s 4-H Honor Club, the state’s highest 4-H honor. His involvement with 4-H continued throughout his life, and he received the organization’s Alumni Recognition Award in 1954 and Outstanding Alumni Award in 1985.
Mr. James was graduated from Weeksville High School and attended N.C. State College. In 1931, he began operating a produce supply business. Later, he developed a trucking business, which he sold in 1958. That year, he organized the family farming corporation, which was known for its potatoes and cabbage.
Mr. James served 12 terms in the N.C. House of Representatives, first from 1945-47 and again from 1973-95. He served as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, a position that enabled him to have a great impact on agriculture in North Carolina. Later, he worked for the N.C. State Grange, assisting with legislative issues.
Mr. James served in organizations such as the Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Growers Association and the N.C. 4-H Club Council. He was president of the National Potato Council in 1966, and was chair of the National Potato Board in 1977-78. Mr. James was a member of the Masons, the Board of Directors of the Elizabeth City Chamber of Commerce and Salem Baptist Church, where he taught Sunday school.
Mr. James’ commitment extended to other organizations. He served on the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina from 1947-55; was co-chair of the Study Commission for the Promotion of Agriculture, Seafood and Forestry in 1983-84 and 1985-86; chairman of the Southern States Legislative Division of Agriculture and Rural Development in 1983-84; member of a House Special Fact-Finding Committee on Agriculture; and member of the Veterinary Medical Board.
During his life, Mr. James was the recipient of many recognitions, including the Commissioner of Agriculture Award for Promotion of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables; Governor’s Award from the N.C. Agribusiness Council for Distinguished Service to Agribusiness; Farm Bureau Award for Distinguished Service to Agriculture; Award for Distinguished Service to County Government and N.C. Citizens; Southern Legislative Conference Award for Service to Agriculture and Rural Development; 4-H Outstanding Alumni Award; State Friend of Extension Award; and the N.C. State Grange Distinguished Service Award.
His commitment to agriculture is evident today at the Vernon G. James Research and Extension Center in Plymouth.
AGRICULTURAL HALL OF FAME