SWISHER SWEETS FARMER OF THE YEAR
Over the past 30 years, the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award program has honored excellence across Southern agriculture’s diverse landscape. Farmers from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia are eligible for the award. State winners are selected by representatives of sponsoring organizations in each state.
On Tuesday at the Willie B. Withers Luncheon, the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year will be announced. This year’s overall winner will receive a $15,000 cash award from Swisher International. Other prizes include use of a Massey Ferguson product for a year from Massey Ferguson North America, a $500 gift certificate from Southern States, a Columbia jacket from Ivey’s Outdoor and Farm Supply, a smoker-grill from Hays LTI and a Henry Repeating Arms American Farmer Tribute edition .22 rifle from Reinke Irrigation.
SPOTLIGHT STATE – NORTH CAROLINA
The Sunbelt Ag Expo is proud to have North Carolina as the 2019 Spotlight State. Along with this honor, Spotlight State status comes with the responsibility of a building near the center of the Sunbelt Ag Expo’s grounds where all of the wonderful attributes that make up their state’s agricultural industry are showcased. Home to Cheerwine, Mt. Olive pickles and Lance crackers, North Carolina is bringing out all of the big stops this year with its “Mountains to the Sea” theme. This year’s Spotlight State building will tell the story of what makes North Carolina so diverse with its agricultural products.
GEORGIA GROWN MARKETPLACE
Georgia Grown has been coming to the Sunbelt Ag Expo for years to tell expo-goers about its wonderful program. This year, however, Georgia Grown products will be showcased like never before. With a new and exciting Georgia Grown Marketplace housed in the Family Living Building, attendees are sure to get a taste of the many wonderful products the state has to offer. From jellies to bed sheets, this corner of the expo has so much to offer. With Georgia Grown products located in one area, expo-goers can easily get a better taste of Georgia and learn about many local producers.
SUSTAINABLE LIVING CENTER MAKEOVER
The Sustainable Living section at the Expo hosts exhibitors that are eager to teach attendees about sustainable living, but this year brings a new makeover to the area. Flint River Fresh partnered with the show to bring a newly renovated space for backyard gardeners and small-scale farmers to learn ways to grow food for their communities. The hope is this information will be easily passed on by those who are able to attend. A few things that will be taught in the demonstration garden will include drip irrigation, equipment, water conservation and reducing disease. These discussions will be supported by hands-on learning experiences in the garden. Sweet corn, broccoli, cabbage, okra and so much more can be found at this Sustainable Living Center.
The Sunbelt Ag Expo is proud to host a professional in the equine industry each year, and the Priefert Horse Arena is full of celebrities. This year features Wade Black, the 2019 Road to the Horse WildCard winner, Chris “Booger” Brown, star of the TV series “The Cowboy Way,” and Analise Granger, a professional Roman rider from Dothan, Alabama. The Sunbelt Ag Expo is not horsing around this year. When it comes to putting on a show, the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Equine and the Sunbelt Ag Expo know how to reign in the celebrities.
YOUTH CHALLENGES + TRACTOR DRIVING
With a continuously evolving agriculture industry, we like to incorporate a little something for everyone, including our future farmers. On Wednesday, Oct. 16, Country Financial will sponsor the Youth Educational Challenges for students in 6th–12th grade. This year’s challenges include: floral design, and identification contests for agricultural mechanics/tools, horticulture, forestry, wildlife, and animal science. Students may compete as an individual or as part of a chapter or club. Awards will be given in each challenge to the top three finishers in the junior and senior divisions. The Expo is also hosting the Georgia FFA state tractor competition for the first time, which is something that is sure to go down in history.
FOLLOW THE DIRT ROAD
The road at the Sunbelt Ag Expo is much like the yellow brick road, but ours is dirt and will take you to a variety of learning opportunities. We like to use the Expo grounds as a way for attendees to get back in the field and learn more about the latest technology in agriculture, and our hay and field demos are always a hit. Whether you are interested in hay, cotton or peanuts, lets head out to the field and see the magic happen before our eyes! The trolley ride out to the field is a fan favorite for both children and adults. You may come back a little dirty, but the pictures of your kiddos and learning opportunities are worth the trip down the dirt road!
HAY IS FOR HORSES (AND FOR JUDGING)
Some farmers grow corn, some grow cotton, and some grow hay. We have many that are proud of the hay that they grow, so we put their hay to the test to see who truly has the best. The Southeastern Hay Contest gives farmers a chance to showcase their high-quality hay for a chance to win great prizes and recognition. Contest winners will be announced Tuesday at the Sunbelt Ag Expo. The grand prize winner will receive a new Massey Ferguson RK Series Rotary Rake DM Series Professional Disc Mower for the 2019 season and $1,000 cash prize. Category sponsors include America’s Alfalfa, Athens Seed Co., Corteva Agriscience, George Twine, Perennial Peanut Producers Association, R.W. Griffin Industries, Inc., and Southeast Agri Seeds.
WHAT’S COOKING AT EXPO?
Food is one thing that brings people together, so the Expo is proud to bring a variety of cooking demonstrations to the show year after year. This year’s show features Holly Chute, executive chef for the Georgia Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development, First Lady Marty Kemp, Clay Oliver, owner of Oliver Farms, Jason Russell, and Laura Bernardi Piovesana, Lara Lyn Carter, Stripling’s General Store, and Two Nutty Chicks. With a wide variety of cooking demonstrations, we have you covered from breakfast to dinner, and all snacks in between.
RARE OPPORTUNITIES AT THE BEEF BARN
Whether you have a herd of beef cattle, or you just enjoy a nice steak dinner, the Expo offers a variety of seminars at the Beef Pavilion. The 42nd annual Sunbelt Ag Expo will provide excellent opportunities for producers to build their knowledge and build their herd in return. A number of vendors will be present to answer questions from A to Z on beef production, as well as forage. Representatives from major animal health manufacturers of cattle vaccines, wormers, insecticides, identification tags and antibiotics will answer questions and offer suggestions for improving herd performance, no matter the size. In addition to vendors, the Expo offers a variety of seminars from beef production to forage growth. Whether you’re a producer or consumer, there are so many rare opportunities in the beef barn.
FISHING AROUND THE EXPO
Our pond management and aquaponic seminars have become especially popular over the years. They allows Expo goers the opportunity to learn more about weed management, aquaculture and managing ponds for great fishing. The best part about fishing is always the meal afterwards, so we are here to help with all aspects including management, filleting and the recipes for cooking. Everyone at the Expo is fishing around looking for the fried catfish samples.
Each year the Expo brings a crowd of people to the dairy barn for various events. One, in particular, is the cow milking contest. Over the years, the Expo has had college deans, commissioners of agriculture, Farm Bureau presidents and even pageant queens participate. However, this year, the Expo is putting a new spin on the cow milking contest with it being an all-female competition. The contest will feature the women in ag from southeastern colleges and universities. Contestants get to show off their skills at hand milking a cow. If you are looking for an udderly good time, be sure to stop by the dairy barn for some good friendly competition.
|Schedule of Events|
|2019 Show Guide|
Source: Sunbelt Ag Expo