John Ager of Hickory Nut Gap Farm is fighting for everyday people and common sense. John has been a strong, honest, thoughtful voice for fully funding our schools so kids have textbooks and teachers--teachers who are paid the national average and given adequate school supplies. John has stood up to polluters and opposed fracking to protect our water and air. He has stood up to governmental overreach. John Ager is a husband, father, and grandfather. John is also a farmer, church elder, and entrepreneur. John has demonstrated vision and leadership as our Representative in the North Carolina House.
John has a long history of community service that includes directly helping our neighbors, mentoring and coaching our children, promoting our farmers, and protecting our cultural heritage as a rural farming community. John Ager co-founded the Fairview Library, the Drover's Road Scenic Byway, and the Fairview Welcome Table--just to name a few of his achievements on behalf of our people and this place we call home. John's political hero is U.S. Rep. Jamie McClure Clarke, his late father-in-law.
John and his wife of 45 years, Annie Clarke Ager, live in Fairview. They manage the Historic Sherrill’s Inn as an event and wedding venue. John assists Annie and her sister, Susie Hamilton, with the Hickory Nut Gap Farm Camp. John is also a land manager at the farm, managing for exotic species, clearing and building trails, and managing the forests. John, Annie, and their son Jamie and daughter-in-law Amy transformed Hickory Nut Gap Farm into one of most successful farms in our region. It is a fifth-generation family farm. In 2011, Jamie and Amy Ager earned the NC Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement Award.
John and Annie raised four children in Fairview, all of whom graduated from A.C. Reynolds High School. John and Annie have eight grandchildren.
Raising a Family and Working in Fairview
- Married Annie Clarke, January 3, 1971
- Summer Camp for disadvantaged kids
- Worked as a carpenter building houses for Broadus Morrow in Fairview
- University of North Carolina at Asheville (Teacher Certificate)
- Practice Teaching at Reynolds High School, under Mr. Sexton
- Four sons born and raised in Fairview: Kevin Ager served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo; he is a US Army Wounded Warrior. Eric Ager is a US Navy Commander. Jamie Ager and his wife own Hickory Nut Gap Farm. Doug Ager is a General Contractor and co-owns Sugar Hollow Solar and Black Sheep Builders.
- Taught at the Newfound School
- Wrote Buncombe County historical essay in Cabins & Castles
- Wrote We Plow Gods Fields, a biography of James G. K. McClure and the history of the Farmers Federation
- Executive Director of the James G. K. McClure Educational and Development Fund (starting in 1982)
- Established Drovers Road Preserve with business partners and family members
- Past Manager of Hickory Nut Gap Farm
- Current Land Manager at Hickory Nut Gap Farm
- Current co-manager of the Sherrill’s Inn as an event and wedding venue
- Helps with Hickory Nut Gap Farm Camp, which is run by his wife Annie and sister-in-law Susie Hamilton
Service and Leadership in Church and Community
- Fairview Christian Fellowship, Ruling Elder
- Helped establish Drovers Road Scenic By Way
- Helped the Nature Conservancy with the Bat Cave Preservation
- Lord’s Acre, Co-Founder
- Fairview Welcome Table Board
- Fairview Town Crier Board
- Helped establish the Fairview Library and Fairview Friends of the Library
- Buncombe County Agricultural Advisory Board, Chair
- Buncombe County Land Conservation Advisory Board (helped to create with Albert Sneed and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners)
- Served on the Committee with Ray Bailey to plan the new Fairview Elementary School
- Helped to save the old Fairview gym and create the Fairview Community Center
- Warren Wilson College, Board of Trustees
- Montreat College, Board of Visitors
- Riverlink Board
- Blue Ridge Sustainability Institute
- Grove Arcade Foundation Board
- Served as President of the Fairview School PTA
- Served on the A.C. Reynolds High School Academic Boosters Club
- Fairview Amateur Theatrical Society (FATS)
- Smart Growth Partners
Community Athletic and Charitable Activities
- Coached baseball and basketball teams for the Fairview Athletic Association
- Led Fairview Christian Fellowship Youth Group for many years
- Sponsored two Kosovar families after the Balkan Wars
- Introduced soccer to the area as a coach and the Reynolds District Coordinator for Buncombe County Parks and Recreation. Coached soccer for many years.
- Helped create and support the Highland Football Club select soccer program
- Initiated the first young girl’s recreational soccer teams for Buncombe County
- Helped to initiate Women’s Soccer at A.C. Reynolds High School