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Edwards, William Odell

William Odell Edwards has devoted his life to farming in Johnston County. Born on December 21, 1928, Odell began farming at his father's side before tractors replaced mules, and with the exception of his tour of duty in the Korean conflict, he has farmed ever since.

He married the former Penina Bunn of Zebulon, North Carolina on October 24, 1950. Over the years their two sons, Dell and Randy, and their daughter, Melanie, joined the family farm operation. They produce tobacco, cotton, small grain, soybeans, cucumbers, feeder calves and goats. Odell became deeply involved in agribusiness organizations early in his career. He has been a member of the Johnston County Farm Bureau Board of Directors since the early 1950's. He served as their President from 1977 to 1979 and again from 1997 to 2000.

Odell serves his community in a number of ways. He has served the Johnston County Farm Service Agency for 41 years since November 1957. He has been an FSA Community Committee member for 24 years and a County Committee member for 17 years, including three years in which he served as Chairman. He has served as a member of the Johnston County Agribusiness Council, and in 1999 he received their Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award. He represents Johnston County Farm Bureau as a member of the Tobacco Farm Life Museum Board of Advisors. In 1995, he and his family received the Johnston County Farm City Week Award.

Odell was a member of the North Carolina Soybean Producers Association Board of Directors from 1982 to 1987, serving on their Executive Committee from 1985 to 1987. He served on the Johnston County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors from 1965 to 1974, and also served on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Cattlemen's Association. He served several years on the Board of Directors of the Neuse Production Credit Association, now Tar Heel Farm Credit. He continues to serve on various Agricultural Extension Service committees.

In addition to his leadership roles in agribusiness organizations, Odell also served as President of the Corinth Holder PTA and served on the School Advisory Councils for Corinth Holder Elementary School and Smithfield Selma Senior High School.

An unpretentious man, Odell has an uncanny ability to judge the true character of a person, and has always been known as a thoughtful and fair man He has often been the individual to step forward as a leader in innovative agribusiness practices seeing the wisdom and value in practices such as no-till farming long before they were commonly accepted. Because of his willingness to serve his community, he continues to touch the lives of many people in Johnston County and the surrounding areas.

This page donated by Johnston County Farm Bureau.

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