Johnston County is one of the fastest growing counties in the state as well as the nation, however, our agricultural roots run deep and continue to define our landscapes. The county was first inhabited in the early 1700s as settlers migrated up the Neuse River basin to farm along the rich banks and forests along the river. Since these early times, farming has remained the stable economy beginning with turpentine and lumber, to cotton, then tobacco and today many cash crops including leading the country in production of sweet potatoes.
Visitors to Johnston County not only enjoy the small towns and vast country side, but can discover the farming community's heritage through museums, on-farm tours, farmer's markets and special themed holiday events. To learn first hand how local farmer's survived on the land, lived, worshiped and attended school, the Tobacco Farm Life Museum in Kenly is a must see museum. More in-depth research materials, exhibits and the study of genealogy may be found at the Johnston County Heritage Center in downtown Smithfield.
To experience agri-business, working farms, markets and special events there are several options throughout the county such as Atkinson's Mill, Boyette Farms, Smith's Nursery and Farm, and Clayton's Farmer's Market....all this and more can be found on the towns' visitor websites: