By Chip Blalock

It takes a village to make a first-class awards program happen. Over the last 33 years, we owe a debt of gratitude to the state coordinators and nominators who make the program happen in their respective states. These folks do the behind-the-scenes leg work to get the state winners engaged in the process and to fill out the nomination forms. We could not do what we do to give these deserving state winners the recognition that they so richly deserve without the coordinators and nominators throughout the various states. In addition, our sponsors play a critical role in helping us bestow recognition to the state winners. Swisher was the title sponsor and tireless program advocate for 32 years. In 2023, the 10 SE Farm Bureaus, along with Harper Family Holdings and Massey Ferguson took over the sponsorships. In 2024, Harper Family Holdings and several SE Farm Bureaus will serve as sponsors.

In 2024, for the 27th year, Massey Ferguson will give the state winner the use of up to 250 hours of a Massey Ferguson tractor and a ride in the antique tractor parade for the overall winner and their family after the annual Expo Luncheon. For the 19th year, SE Farm Press will host a roundtable discussion for current and past state and overall winners and sponsor the annual banquet. This is in addition to serving as the publisher of the official Sunbelt Ag expo show program. Hay’s LTI will donate a Hay’s Smoker to the SE winner for the 10th consecutive year. Reinke Irrigation will present the SE winner with a “Henry Golden Boy, “American Farmer Tribute Edition” rifle.

As with any awards program that covers so much ground across a region, it takes sponsors to help us cover the costs. If you or your company would like to come on board as a sponsor we will be glad to talk to you about the endless possibilities about how we can join forces and continue to give these salt-of-the-earth farm families the recognition that they so richly deserve for continuing to provide the safest, most abundant and economical supply of food, fiber, shelter and energy in the world.

***Note – Over the next several weeks, we look forward to taking you on a journey of the Southeastern Farmer of the Year Program.  This is the third blog in the series.

Sunbelt Ag Expo Farmer of the Year It Takes a Village