Wofford B. Camp was born on a farm in Cherokee County, South Carolina, the fifth of eight children. The family's cash crop was cotton, which never generated more than $1,000 annually. When he was nine, Camp earned his first dollar picking 100 pounds of cotton. After eighth grade, Camp decided to go to college without a high school diploma. He took examinations that won him a scholarship to Clemson College. He graduated in 1916 with a degree in agronomy. Following graduation, Camp was sent to California by the U. S. Department of Agriculture to develop a reliable source of long staple cotton that the Air Corps needed to cover the wings of the newly emerging flying machines. In 1928, Camp joined the Bank of America as head agricultural appraiser. After five years, he joined the Roosevelt administration to assist with drafting and operating the Cotton Program. In 1936, he returned to California to begin his own farming operations, which prospered and expanded to include farms in South Carolina and Washington.