Donnie Ray Boyette
Donnie Ray Boyette, the son of L.A. Boyette, Jr., and Carolyn Lyles Boyette was born in Wilson County near Kenly, NC on February 26, 1953. He graduated from Rock Ridge High School and then attended Atlantic Christian College (present-day Barton College) in Wilson for two years before choosing to return home to work with his father on the family farm. Donnie married the former Ellen Rogerson of Kenly in 1991. He has three children Deborah W. Blizzard born in 1972, Susan W. Tyler in 1973, and Kelvin Ray Boyette in 1975.
Donnie has now been farming for 27 years and with his brother Brent is the fifth generation of the family on that farm. They produce tobacco, corn, cotton, sweetpotatoes, soybeans, and wheat on approximately 850 acres. He has gained wide respect for his excellence in farming and agribusiness. In 1983 he was the N.C. Jaycees Young Farm of the Year. Two years later he received the Philip Morris Young Farmer of the Year Award. From 1992-1994 he participated in the Philip Morris Agricultural Leadership Development Program. Additionally, he has been a member of the 200 Bushel Club for his corn production and served on the local committee of the Agriculture Stabilization Conservation Service. He has been president of the Wilson County Young Farmers Club, served on the N.C. State University Agricultural Foundation Board, and served on the Wilson County Agricultural Extension Advisory Board. Donnie is a strong advocate of educating the public about the region's agricultural heritage as demonstrated by his support of the Tobacco Farm Life Museum. He was one of the original tour farmers for the museum, and is currently on the museum's board of directors.
Donnie has served his community in a number of ways, being named Jaycee of the Year in 1984 and Outstanding Local President of the Jaycees in 1985. He has coached Little League and Babe Ruth League baseball, served as the Rock Ridge Athletic Association president, and as Vice-President of the Rock Ridge P.T.A. He is also an active member of Marsh Swamp Free Will Baptist Church. His hobby of flying small aircraft has led him to be president of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1047.
In his spare time Donnie enjoys hunting, flying, NASCAR racing, and spending time with his grandchildren Jessica and Kristen Tyler and Ashton Blizzard. He is well known for his sense of humor and devotion to family and friends.
Given to Mr. Boyette by the Tobacco Farm Life Museum at the Excellence in Agriculture Dinner on November 30, 2000 honoring his outstanding contribution to our agribusiness community.