News Releases

Ag Hall of Fame Posthumously Inducts Beaver Dam Farmer

Nov 16, 2018

The late Tony Derek Simpson was inducted into the Cumberland County Agricultural Hall of Fame today during the annual Farm City Week program held by the Cumberland County Cooperative Extension and the Kiwanis Club of Fayetteville.


The event also recognized Justin Freeman as the 2018 Cumberland County Farm Bureau Outstanding Young Farmer of the Year.


An official portrait of Simpson, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 49, was unveiled and will hang on the wall with those of past inductees in the I.B. Julian Auditorium of the Cooperative Extension office at the Charlie Rose Agri-Expo Center, located at 301 E. Mountain Dr.


Simpson, the son of Maude and the late Bernice Simpson, was born into a farming family. Tony and his brother, Jeff Simpson, followed in their father’s footsteps and were lifelong partners in a tobacco farming operation in the Beaver Dam community in southeast Cumberland County. The brothers eventually expanded the operation to exceed 600 acres.


Tony Simpson was well-known for his tobacco-curing skills and put in many long hours of hard work to ensure the success of every tobacco season.


“Working with Cooperative Extension and N.C. State University, Tony was instrumental in test plot research studies that focused on wilt disease management in flue-cured tobacco,” said Cumberland County Cooperative Extension Director Lisa Childers. “Tony’s leadership in assisting N.C. State with the variety trials resulted in researchers identifying varieties of tobacco that exhibited high resistance to the disease.”


Simpson was named Cumberland County Farm Bureau’s Outstanding Young Farmer in 2006 in recognition of his innovative and successful tobacco production.


Young Farmer of the Year


Justin Freeman is the 2018 Cumberland County Farm Bureau Outstanding Young Farmer of the Year. Freeman is a first-generation farmer in the Stedman community. He began farming in 2005, growing a few acres of deer corn, sweet corn and watermelons. What began as a part-time income project has expanded into a 650-acre farming operation, in partnership with his father, Richard Freeman, and consisting of corn, wheat, soybeans and watermelons in Cumberland and Sampson counties.

In addition to farming, Freeman has worked full-time with the City of Fayetteville Fire Department since 2009. He is a 2002 graduate of Cape Fear High School, where he was a member of the school’s FFA chapter.


Freeman attributes much of his success in the farming community to his father, as well as Ray and Collins Bullard and Duane and Justin Smith, who have provided advice and solutions for farming issues.


The guest speaker for the event was N.C. Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Alexander “Sandy” Stewart of Carthage.