Clemson Reach: Cotton Hills Farm

Clemson University is a land grant institution that has had a tremendous impact on agriculture. Chip Carter spent some time on campus with alumni to show us how much, in our new series “Clemson Reach.” Today, we learn about a farm that was founded before the university.

Cotton Hills Farm in Lowrys, South Carolina started out as just a 100 acre wedding present in 1882.

The operation has expanded and diversified since the 19th century. It started out mainly row crops, and now, they grow pumpkins, peaches, watermelon and other fresh produce.

Jed Wilson states, “We’re very proud to be growing lots of different things. My brother, Pete, and I both graduated from Clemson University... We came back to the farm, we’ve been doing a lot of row crop farming, but we pushed more into pumpkins and all kinds of fresh produce. Pete and I have actually been growing pumpkins since I was 10 years old... we’ve grown that into over 100 acres of pumpkins.”

“When it comes to local produce, they can actually see it growing from the highway. So, they know exactly where it is,” Pete Wilson notes. “We’re able to give people tours of the fields... It’s just great to complete that story, all the way from when we plant to when we harvest, and everyone is a part of it.”

Attending Clemson helped the Wilsons grow their family operation. “Clemson... broadens your perspective of the world,” Jed notes.

Pete adds, “Clemson definitely gives you a view of the world... you have a work ethic when you’re in school... you have that same thing here on the farm. If you don’t work, farms doesn’t run itself. A lot of hard work to go around.”