The purpose of the North Carolina Pork Council Emerging Leader Award is to recognize and honor a pork producer aged 40 or younger who has contributed to the pork industry in North Carolina and exhibits potential for leadership. This year’s recipient is Josh Coombs of Clinton.

Joshua Coombs was born and raised in Sampson County on a farm started by his great grandfather. His grandfather introduced hogs to the farm and then his father later transitioned to a modern hog farm, contracting with Prestage Farms.

Josh abruptly inherited the farm and all of the responsibility when his father was killed in a car accident shortly after Josh got married. In time, he and his wife Jessica have expanded the farm to from four barns to 12 and added four nursery barns.

When he’s not working at the farms, Josh is a full-time fireman for the Clinton Fire Department, where he has served for more than 18 years.

Josh has served on the North Carolina Pork Board for two years and has been willing to share his story and his farm to help others understand the commitment of North Carolina pig farmers. In 2018, the National Pork Board featured Josh in a video as part of the Real Pig Farming campaign. He was featured in another video produced by Feed the Dialogue that focused on the sustainability commitment of farmers. In conjunction with Feed the Dialogue NC and the NC Pork Council, Coombs hosted a media tour on his farm to give reporters a firsthand look inside of a barn and next to a lagoon.

In addition to his work at the fire station and with the industry, he is a Mason through Hiram Lodge #98 as well as a Sudan Shriner in Clinton.  He currently serves on the NC Pork Council nominating committee. He and Jessica have three sons – Jett, Wyatt and Jensen – and they are expecting a daughter this year.

“I enjoy sharing farm life with my boys, in hopes they will want to follow in the family footsteps one day,” said Josh.