Rodney Jackson (left), is now president and CEO of Jackson Farming Co., Autryville, N.C., taking the reins from his father, Brent Jackson. ( Jackson Farming Co. )

Melon grower Brent Jackson is stepping down as president and CEO of Jackson Farming Co., handing the reins to his oldest son, Rodney Jackson.

Brent Jackson, who founded the company with his wife Debbie Jackson in 1981, was the president and CEO since then.

“Rodney has been here almost as long as Debbie and I, so I know JFC is in good hands,” Brent Jackson said in a news release.

Brent Jackson remains chairman of the company, which grows and ships watermelons, cantaloupes and specialty melons, strawberries, broccoli, sweet potatoes and pumpkins in Autryville, N.C., according to the release.

In making the announcement, Brent Jackson stressed the importance of family in the company’s history. Rodney Jackson has been senior vice president of shipping since 2010.