Farmer of the Year

This will be the 26th Anniversary of Swisher International and the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition to have the honor to salute the agricultural community and industry with the Swisher Sweets / Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year Award. In the previous 25 years, many of agriculture’s top business leaders, innovators, environmentalists, pioneers, family men, problem solvers and leaders have received national recognition.  Swisher International and Sunbelt Ag Expo continue to provide recognition for a select group of true heroes – American Farmers and make the public more aware of the many ways agriculture touches their lives every day.
Longtime University of Georgia Extension agronomist John Woodruff has been selected as the newest judge for the prestigious Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year awards.  Woodruff, from Tifton, Ga., will join John McKissick, University of Georgia agricultural economist from Athens, Ga., and farmer Brian Kirksey of Amity, Ark., in visiting the farms of the state winners from the Southeast. McKissick is serving as the senior judge this year and Kirksey was the overall winner of the award in 2008.  Their judging trip will take place during the week of Aug. 12-16. During the week, they will visit the farms of the ten state winners. This year’s state winners represent the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The overall winner will be announced on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at the Sunbelt Ag Expo farm show in Moultrie, Ga.  “We are pleased and honored to welcome John Woodruff to our distinguished team of judges, and we look forward to having his experience and insight for the next three years,” says Chip Blalock, director of the Sunbelt Expo farm show. The Farmer of the Year judges typically serve for three years before rotating off the judging team.  “I have been following the Farmer of the Year awards since it began,” says Woodruff. “I have admired the selection process and the farmers who have been named state and overall winners. It is an honor for me to now be a part of this process, and I am really looking forward to meeting the ten state winners and seeing these operations that represent the wide variety of farming in the Southeast.”
Since its inception in 1990, the Swisher Sweets / Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year Award has evolved into the most prestigious honor in the southeast and nation with 206 outstanding agribusiness leaders being honored for their “excellence in agriculture.” Ten states participate in the program: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. In the previous 24 years of the award, over $924,000 has been awarded to state and overall winners.  Each state winner receives $2500 and an all expense paid trip to Expo along with various other prizes.  The overall Southeastern winner receives $15,000 and various other prizes from the sponsors.

Sponsors

Swisher International

Massey Ferguson
Columbia PFGIvey'sPhytoGen


2015 Farmer of the Year
  • RICKEY CORNUTT NAMED 2015 ALABAMA FARMER OF THE YEAR - Rickey Cornutt of Boaz, Ala., raises crops and cattle on small fields. He’s a successful farmer on Sand Mountain in North Alabama. A farmer for 33 years, Cornutt’s farm consists of 2,000 acres, including 1,600 acres of rented land and 400 acres of owned land. As a result of his success as a row crop […]
  • NATHAN REED NAMED 2015 ARKANSAS FARMER OF THE YEAR - At age 35, young fourth generation farmer Nathan Reed has accomplished much during his 12-year farming career. He’s an attorney who gave up the practice of law to concentrate on farming. He raises cotton, corn, soybeans and grain sorghum on close to 6,000 acres. Reed, from Marianna, Ark., has excelled at growing crops, adopting new […]
  • VIC STORY, JR., NAMED 2015 FLORIDA FARMER OF THE YEAR - Vic Story, Jr., of Lake Wales, Fla., is a citrus leader during a time the industry faces a threatening bacterial disease called citrus greening. Story is fighting back by spraying psyllid insects that spread the disease, by replanting infected groves and by planting alternative crops such as peaches. This year, he’s increasing his citrus plantings […]
  • JAMES LYLES NAMED 2015 GEORGIA FARMER OF THE YEAR - On his Northwest Georgia farm, James Lyles is building new chicken houses, moving beef cattle daily and harvesting and selling top quality hay. A farmer for 19 years, Lyles is from Ringgold, Ga. His Dry Creek Farm includes 627 acres with 90 rented acres and 537 acres of owned land. He says, “If I can’t […]
  • JACK TRUMBO NAMED 2015 KENTUCKY FARMER OF THE YEAR - This has been a difficult year for Jack Trumbo of Simpsonville, Ky. In February, his home burned down. About a month later, he suffered a life-threatening accident when a tractor ran over him. He endured multiple injuries. Prompt medical attention helped save his life, followed by surgeries and a long rehabilitation. He recently took a […]
  • ALLEN EUBANKS NAMED 2015 MISSISSIPPI FARMER OF THE YEAR - Fourth generation farmer Allen Eubanks of Lucedale, Miss., specializes in farm-fresh, hand-picked vegetable crops. He has been buying land throughout his career and his farm is now one of the largest vegetable farms in Mississippi. Eubanks Produce encompasses about 2,800 acres. He farms in six counties, including in nearby Alabama. As a result of his […]
  • DANNY KORNEGAY NAMED 2015 NORTH CAROLINA FARMER OF THE YEAR - As a tobacco farmer, sweet potato grower, row crop producer and contract hog grower, Danny Kornegay of Princeton, N.C., has been a great success in his 45 years of farming. He farms 5,500 acres, including 2,900 acres of rented land and 2,600 owned acres. He farms in three North Carolina and two South Carolina counties. […]
  • TOM TRANTHAM NAMED 2015 SOUTH CAROLINA FARMER OF THE YEAR - A pioneer who developed a grazing dairy and an on-farm bottling plant and creamery, Tom Trantham of Pelzer, S.C., plants forage crops throughout the year. This replicates the lush and nutritious grazing available during April on most farms. He calls his farm the 12 Aprils Dairy. His bottling plant is the Happy Cow Creamery. His […]
  • GEORGE CLAY NAMED 2015 TENNESSEE FARMER OF THE YEAR - George Clay has maximized his production and has become an efficient row crop and beef producer who farms with two sons and only one employee. A farmer for 57 years, Clay is from Pelham, Tenn. He grows high yielding crops and farms productive land. As a result of his farming success, Clay has been selected […]
  • DONALD TURNER NAMED 2015 VIRGINIA FARMER OF THE YEAR - A diversified row crop farmer, Donald Turner of North Dinwiddie, Va., has farmed for 41 years. He started farming with his father. This past year, he farmed 1,166 acres of cropland plus another 165 acres in timber for a total of 1,331 acres. He owns about a fourth of the land he farms and rents […]