Thaddeus Pender Sharp III
Thaddeus Pender Sharp III (Pender) was born on May 6, 1951 to Thad Sharp Jr. and Julia Brame Sharp in the Rock Ridge community of Wilson County.
He has two children, Thad Pender Sharp, IV, who was born in 1973 and James A. Sharp born in 1977.
Growing up working on the family's farm he learned the importance of hard work. He began trucking tobacco during the harvest season at age five, later he helped his father by cropping "the other side" of his row. As the son of a long line of farmers it was only natural that he would become involved in the 4-H Club and the Future Farmers of America. After graduating from Rock Ridge High School in 1969 he attended North Carolina State University receiving his Associate's Degree in 1971. While at N.C. State he was a member of the university's livestock judging team in 1970. Later, in 1971 he served as a state Future Farmers of America officer.
Upon returning to the farm after college he proved himself both as a farmer and as a spokesman for farmers. He was named the Philip Morris Outstanding Young Farmer for 1980, the Wilson County Outstanding Young Farmer for 1981, and North Carolina's Outstanding Young Farmer for 1982. In 1985 the Sharp family was the State Conservation Farm Family of the Year. Since then Pender has been named North Carolina Outstanding Corn Producer of the Year in 1992, and Wilson County Outstanding 4-H Alumnus for 1997.
Pender has also entered the political arena to promote agriculture and speak up for the interests of farmers. He seeks to influence legislation that would benefit the farm families that are the state's backbone. He has been a member of the Board of Directors for the N.C. Tobacco Growers' Association, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, and the N.C. Sweetpotatoe Commission. Currently he is a member of the U.S.D.A. Farm Service Agency State Committee, and U.S. Representative Bob Ethridge's Agricultural Advisory Committee.
Pender serves his community as well. He is Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Heritage Bank of Bailey and is the church treasurer for Nobles Chapel Baptist Church.
Pender now works with his father and brother Alan running the family's farming operation, "Sharp Farms, Inc.," for which he is farm manager and treasurer. They grow flue cured tobacco, sweetpotatoes, corn, soybeans, cotton, purebred swine seedstock, cucumbers, and cantaloupes.
His two children, Thad, IV, and James Sharp continue the tradition, representing the fifth generation to work on the family farm.
Given to Mr. Sharp by the Tobacco Farm Life Museum at the Excellence in Agriculture Dinner on November 30, 2000, honoring his outstanding contribution to our agribusiness community.