CHARLES CITY, Va. -- A Charles City man is known and respected around the country and the world. A qualified expert in his field, he's so good at what he does that he has earned multiple titles.
Yet, many have never heard of David Hula.
"I am a student of the crop. There's not a day in the summertime you won't see my shadow in a cornfield. I understand the crop and I try to make sure the crop doesn't have a bad day," David said.
After spending just a few minutes with David Hula, his passion and excitement for farming are contagious.
"It's just a passion. I'm a corn whisperer. I can't sleep because I know the things I want to be doing the next day," David said.
In order to understand David today, you have to understand his past.
"We're here at Renwood Farms in Charles City, Virginia on the banks of the James River. I'm the third generation here. I had the chance to work with my granddad, he shared a lot of great knowledge and my dad just had a wealth of knowledge," David said.
His past includes farming a piece of land near Williamsburg that is tied to Virginia and the founding of the United States.
"We farm the lane right there called Mainland Farms. First farmed in 1609, it's been farmed every year since," David said.
David's farming stretches all the way to Richmond.
"We tend about 4,000 acres," David said.
While he raises cucumbers for Mount Olive Pickles, wheat and soybeans, there's one crop that he's best at growing out of every farmer in the world.
"The first thing I'm looking at is the color of the leaf. We want each plant to be a mirror of the next one," David said.
"In 2019, the good Lord shined on us and we had a primmer Sun Year, where we had a lot of sunlight. We had moderate temperatures and we were able to harvest over 600 bushels of corn per acre," David explained.
It was 616 bushels to be exact, a feat certified by the National Corn Growers Association, beating out the previous record.
"Previously, the record was 500 plus some acre," David said.
The accomplishment happened to be a record for David as well.
Jay Carpenter, a co-owner of Reservoir Distillery in Richmond, can attest to the quality of the crop.
"He is the foundation of our products. We tried other people's grains and the consistency is really what we're after and the quality and we really find that with Renwood, we get both of those," Carpenter said.
While David is winning awards, his crops helped Reservoir win awards of their own.
"We've won Double Gold in the World's Spirits Competition numerous times using his products and we wouldn't have it any other way," Carpenter said.
When it comes to breaking records, it's in his DNA.
"My granddad was one of the first ones to break 100 bushels in the area. Then my dad broke 200 bushels. We were the first ones to break 300, 400, 500 and 600, so we've been blessed," David said.
However, David said he is well aware that breaking records can come at the risk of damaging the land.
"If we can continue to improve that soil and improve our yield, then we're great stewards, so yeah, that's important for Virginians to know, hey, we're environmentalists, we're great stewards and we're just making the soil better," David said.
David has been featured in two television series about farming and corn and has traveled the world telling farmers how he and his family run their farm.
He said that he is willing to speak with any farmer who has a passion for learning and is ready to ask the right questions.
Watch for CBS 6 Senior Reporter Wayne Covil's feature stories on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com. If you know someone Wayne should profile, email him at email@example.com.
Find unique, award-winning stories every day on CBS 6 News.