Charles Snipes of Greenville, Miss., has been selected as the newest judge of the prestigious Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award.

This year as a judge, he will join longtime University of Tennessee Extension agricultural economist Clark Garland from Maryville, Tenn., and farmer Thomas Porter, Jr., from Concord, N.C. in visiting the farms of the ten state winners from the Southeast. Garland is serving as the senior judge this year while Porter was the overall winner of the award in 2011.

Their judging trip will take place during the week of Aug. 1-5. This year’s winners represent the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The overall winner of the award will be announced on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at the Sunbelt Ag Expo farm show in Moultrie, Ga.

This is an encore appointment for Snipes to serve as a Farmer of the Year judge. He previously served on the judging team during 2010, 2011 and 2012.

The Farmer of the Year award recognizes excellence in agricultural production and management, along with leadership in community and farm organizations.

Snipes holds a Ph.D in weed science from Mississippi State University. In addition to his weed science responsibilities, he has also worked during his career with Mississippi State as a plant physiologist and an Extension cotton specialist. After retiring from Mississippi State, he has been active as the founder, president and research scientist for Stoneville R&D, also known as SRD. This is an independent, privately owned company that provides contract services in agricultural research for the Mid-South.

“I am looking forward to once again being a judge and visiting these premier farming operations in the Southeast,” says Snipes. “It is a great experience to see the tremendous dedication these farmers and their families have for the agricultural industry, and to see how their farming operations have improved and expanded over the years.”

“We are honored and pleased to once again welcome Charles Snipes to our great team of judges, and we know our state farming winners will benefit from the experience and insight that Charles will bring as a judge of our awards,” says Chip Blalock, director of the Sunbelt Expo farm show. Blalock notes that Farmer of the Year judges typically serve for three years before rotating off the judging team.

Swisher International, through its Swisher Sweets cigar brand, and the Sunbelt Expo are sponsoring the Southeastern Farmer of the Year awards for the 27th consecutive year. Swisher has contributed some $1,040,000 in cash awards and other honors to southeastern farmers since the award was initiated in 1990.

For 2016, the state recipients of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award include Wendell Gibbs of Ranburne, Ala., David Wildy of Manila, Ark., Paul DiMare of Coral Gables, Fla., John McCormick of Sylvania, Ga., Keith Lowry of Water Valley, Ky., Paul Good of Columbus, Miss., Jerry Wyant of Vale, N.C., Kerry Owen of Pickens, S.C., James Haskew of South Pittsburgh, Tenn., and Tyler Wegmeyer of Hamilton, Va.

Snipes and the other judges will be accompanied on their farm visits by videographer Brett Reece of Dallas, Ga., and Sunbelt Expo director Chip Blalock of Moultrie, Ga.