North Carolina Agricultural
Hall of Fame Inductees
JOHN W. SLEDGE
1924 - 1985
"Good honest devotion to accomplishment is the key to success." This is a quote from one of John W. Sledge's speeches. He devoted his entire life toward accomplishing all that he could for agriculture in North Carolina and across America.
John Sledge was born in Franklin County and attended Louisburg College, Louisburg, North Carolina.
In 1947 he married Frances Ludell Belflower of Martin County and they raised three daughters - Johnsie, Valeta and Nancy.
After college, he taught vocational agriculture, served as district manager for FCX, and as assistant to the farm relations officer at Peoples Bank and Trust Company before settling down to farming in Martin County where he became involved in the Martin County Farm Bureau.
Shortly after becoming involved in the Martin County Farm Bureau, John Sledge was elected to the county Farm Bureau board of directors. He was later elected county president for four one-year terms and by the end of his last term, he was vice president and member of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation. He was named assistant to the president of farm Bureau in 1970 and held this position until his election as president of the North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation and all affiliates in December 1974, where he served until his death.
Under his leadership, the North Carolina farm Bureau more than doubled its membership, enlarged its service programs and its overall effectiveness increased enormously.
John Sledge possessed tremendous determination to do what he always though was right for the best interest of agriculture. He was admired, respected and listened to by all members of the agriculture community.
He worked closely with farm commodity and agribusiness groups, as well as educational leaders, in improving the economic welfare of farmers. He helped raise substantial sums of private support to supplement state and federal appropriations for the advancement of teaching, research and extension programs of the School of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University.
During his career, Mr. Sledge served on the boards of many groups relating to agriculture. He was director of the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation and the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Foundation. He served on the USDA Agricultural and Technical Advisory Committee for Trade on Tobacco; Advisory Council, N.C. State University School of Agriculture and Life Sciences; N.C. Board of Farm Organizations and Agricultural Agencies; Governor's Blue Ribbon Study Commission on Transportation Needs; and the Governor's Advisory Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Seafood.
On a national level, John Sledge was elected to the board of directors of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company in 1974 and to the board of directors of the American Farm Bureau Federation in 1978 and served on both until his death.
He was a member of the Oak City Baptist church in Martin County where he served for many years as a deacon, Sunday School superintendent and Sunday School teacher. He also served two terms as a member of the Martin County Board of Commissioners.
John Sledge received many honors and awards during his career. In 1978, he received the North Carolina Department of Agriculture award for service to agriculture, was recognized as man of the year by The Progressive Farmer, and received the recognition award of Federal Land Bank and Federal Intermediate Credit Bank of Columbia for "Outstanding and Significant Contributions to Agriculture Progress." In 179, the N.C. Association of County Agricultural Agents honored him for his service to agriculture.
He received two awards posthumously - The American Farm Bureau Federation Distinguished Service Award and the N.C. Agribusiness Council Special Award for Distinguished Service to Agriculture.
John Sledge leaves a legacy of hard work and devotion to agriculture. His labors have made an impressive impact on agriculture in this state and nation that will be long felt and remembered.
the North Carolina
AGRICULTURAL HALL OF FAME