Tyrone Williams and his family at Fourtee Acres. Photo courtesy of Fourtee Acres.
Location: Enfield, North Carolina (Halifax County)
Years in Business: > 10 years
NCIFund Role: Technical assistance, accounting
Sector: Timber, sustainable forestry
Impact: Sustainable land management, wealth creation

Tyrone Williams’ 62-acre timber and crop farm, Fourtee Acres, in Enfield, North Carolina, has been in his family for generations. Connected to a larger family operation that includes cropland and rental properties, Fourtee Acres was named with dual meaning: a play on the “40 acres and a mule” that was promised to freed slaves during Reconstruction, and the four “T’s” in Tyrone’s family—himself, and his three sons Trevelyn, Tremaine, and Tyron. His wife Edna, according to Tyrone, represents the double “e,” with her energy and encouragement.

Though Tyrone oversaw the family farm operations throughout a large part of his adult life, he had never managed the 37 acres of timber on his property, which was harvested in 2012 by an outside logger. When he retired after 32 years with the State of North Carolina, he started to think about what would happen to the land after he was gone. He decided to take a more hands-on role to ensure that the land would remain something of value to leave his children and generations to come.

The Opportunity

Tyrone wanted to focus on sustainability for his land moving forward, so he continuously works with the Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Project to develop and maintain a sustainable management plan for the timber on his farm and to better manage all aspects of the operation. But this was new territory, and he needed financial guidance. Through our Accounting Assistance Program for Disadvantaged Farmers, funded by the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, we’ve helped Tyrone obtain accounting help, guidance on the best structure for his operation, and the confidence to see his land as a multifaceted source of wealth.

Tyrone WIlliams headshotThe future that I see for my land is not necessarily what my sons see. So, what I need to do is make sure that the business pieces are in place, the legal pieces are in place, and the lines of trust and communication are open. I’m building the frame so that all they have to worry about is the picture they want to see inside of it. 
                                     - Tyrone Williams, owner, Fourtee Acres


Impact

Tyrone planted the last tract of Fourtee Acres in 2017, and sees his work on the farm as a long-term investment in both the land and his family. He has achieved American Tree Farm System certification, Forest Stewardship Program certification, has a wildlife management plan for his property and has his farm enrolled in the Voluntary Agricultural District Program. He knows that investing in the property and sustainable practices now will bring a higher yield for his timber in the future, and more return on investment for his family.

The Accounting Assistance program through Natural Capital Investment Fund helped us in our efforts to develop sound financial practices, work with professionals in the financial arena along with our support partners and allow us to continue to work towards our goals of sustainability, succession and wealth building. 
                                     - Tyrone Williams, owner, Fourtee Acres


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