Fight to save family farm in Guilford County

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- For years, you have probably seen their products at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market.

The Banner Place Nursery, which sells to the public through its company High Performance Flowers, has been operated by the Davis family for 11 generations.

Family members fear the farm that houses the nursery could be in jeopardy.

A series of unfortunate circumstances has put the farm in a financial bind.

Just the thought of having to close is tough for Branson Davis -- the nursery’s general manager who began helping on the farm when he was just 9 years old.

“This has been the one constant throughout my whole life and it has been here for everybody else,” he said.

For years the farm has operated with a small staff which included Davis, his father and two other close family friends who were also employees.

In 2013, Branson’s father was dealing with a health crisis that forced him to go in and out of the hospital. He was unable to work most of two growing seasons.

Around the time he was beginning to recover, the family’s two employees, died within six months of each other.

“I really dreaded every time my phone rang. I didn't know if it was going to be that call,” Davis said.

On top of that, the nursery would have to adjust to a new policy adopted by its suppliers -- the nursery could not get next season’s starter plants until its entire balance was settled.

“If there was ever a time we needed to push back a balance it was that time,” Davis said.

Right now, the farm is unable to move forward until the balance of about $20,000 is paid.

“It would just be a shame for this to have to come to an end especially from situations that weren't even in our control at all,” Davis said.

Davis started a Go Fund Me page not only to help pay what’s owed, but to also invest in the farm's future by modernizing its greenhouses with an automated watering system.

Currently it takes six hours a day to water the plants by hand.

“That could go a long way into ensuring that if we ever experience any kind of devastating events like we just did we would be much better off,” Davis said.

Worst case scenario, Davis hopes to only miss the current season and avoid selling any more land.

Davis emphasized that family tradition along with continuing to serve loyal customers motivate him to find a solution.

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