Nick Naylor has had a fun year at his family’s corn maze and the governor’s mansion where two turkeys were pardoned and given their forever home on the Naylor Family Farm. But he has also been laying a a foundation for his future through the Agricultural Business Management Program.
Read about Nick’s path to CALS and his plans for the future.
Please provide some background on yourself. How did you become interested in Ag business?
I became interested in Ag at a young age. As most boys do growing up, they want to be a farmer and drive big machines across the dirt and mud, but really made me want to study and hopefully return the the Ag industry was my dad. He started farming at the age of 16, growing cantaloupes and watermelons. He has done this now for 34 years and every year I seem to enjoy watching plants grow and when it comes time to pick, pull or crop whatever it is that we have grown. It can be very rewarding to see what all you have accomplished in a short amount of time there is each year farming.
What made you want to attend the NC State?
To be honest, I really did not want to go to college. My dad has a degree from UNC Chapel Hill, and he and my mom continued to push me in the college direction until I finally gave in and applied to NC State. I choose State because if I was going to go to college, I was going to study something I actually loved to do, agriculture. I did not want to go to far from home and State has a great agriculture program so I figured it would be a good match for me.
What brought you to the Agricultural Business Management program?
What brought me to the agricultural business management program was how wide a range of possible job opportunities there was with it. You can do things in regular business as well as most jobs in the agricultural sector as well. Being in North Carolina and with the largest part of our state’s economic backbone being related to the field of agriculture, I figured this would be the best fit for me.
How has your experience growing up on a farm helped you with your classes?
Growing up on a farm has helped me in class because it has taught me to get things done and done right the first time. By not fully completing a task, it can come back and hurt you more than you would think. It has also taught me to get up, get out of bed and get the day started early so you can finish early and be able to do things you want to do when you get done with your daily tasks.
How have your classes helped you with your family’s business?
My classes have helped my family’s business by showing me new ways to operate and different ways of doing things that I might have never figured out or it would have taken me much longer to figure out. It has also taught me to better understand just what all it takes to go into running an agricultural based business as well as just how many aspects there are to running any business.
Tell us about your recent visit to the governor’s mansion.
Visiting the governor’s mansion was a neat experience. We were the first ones to take the ever take the turkeys that have been pardoned back to our farm. The names of the turkeys are Sir Walter and Caroline. There has been only a few turkeys ever pardoned by the NC governor. My family and I were able to meet and talk to the governor of North Carolina, one of the leaders from Butterball as well as the President of the NC Poultry Federation. After the turkeys were pardoned, they were taken back to my corn maze in Lillington were they will spend the rest of their lives happy and being seen by school kids and people of all ages.
What do you most value about your college experience?
What I value the most out of my college experience is not the classes, but just the whole college experience itself. Meeting new life long friends from all over North Carolina as well as other places. College is about learning in class, but the greatest experience you get from college is being exposed to people that are different than you. I am from a small town that got its second stoplight just a few years ago when the county built the new high school, there is not much diversity there. Everyone knows everybody, people wave at you going down the road on trucks and tractors even if you do not them from Adam. The college experience is one that broadens your horizons, gives you new ideas and different ways of doing things that you thought your way of doing them was the right way, and gives you an experience that will stay with you the rest of your life.
What are your goals after graduation?
My goals after graduation are to go back to my family’s business and grow it. We are planning now to open at least one more roadside produce stand as well as continue to grow the corn maze by adding new attractions. Just last year at the corn maze we bought a used military surplus helicopter from Ocala Florida for kids to play in. With this in mind there is no telling what else we may buy and drag up there to the maze. Another dream of mine is to start a land clearing and grading business of my own. A lot of my family’s income is seasonal, by starting this business it would give me something to do during the down times of the year as well as a more steady year-round income.