Lenoir County farmer receives award from NC Sweet Potato Commission  

The North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission has given its highest honor to a Lenoir County farmer.

Feb. 6. The North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission has given its highest honor to a Lenoir County farmer. It was sweet news for Kendall Hill who grew up on a family farm in Lenoir County, where sweet potatoes have always been an important crop. Each year the North Carolina SweetPotato Commission selects a member in good standing who through hard work, selfless dedication, and distinguished service benefits North Carolina’s sweet potato industry.

Potato tradition

Hill’s grandfather, James Thaddeus Hill, built the first dedicated sweet potato storage building in the 1930s which set the example for a controlled storage environment within North Carolina’s sweet potato industry.

Innovations and growth continued throughout the decades that followed, with constant attention to equipment and practices that increased efficiency and quality.

Teaming up

In 1995 Kendall Hill teamed up with Dr. Mike Boyette, a professor in NC States’ Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department to build a new sweet potato complex utilizing negative horizontal ventilation to improve curing and storage of the crop.  He initiated and supported pioneering research such as the micropropigation program at NCSU.  The micro-propagation program at NCSU has become the leader in providing clean seed stock through its certified seed producers not only in the USA but around the world.

An adamant approach

In the year 2000, Kendall was adamant that consumption of sweet potatoes would rise if there were more sweet potato products available to consumers. His insistence was instrumental in the creation of sweet potato fries for retail purchase.  For this and many other reasons, he is recognized as a leader and innovator among agricultural producers in North Carolina.  He has served six three-year terms on the Board of Directors of the NC Sweet Potato Commission, including four terms as president, and served as the NC representative to the US Sweet Potato Council.

He continues to assist the NC sweet potato industry daily in any way possible.