During the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Georgia, the 30th Anniversary of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year luncheon took place. Since its inception in 1990, the award has evolved into the most prestigious honor in the southeast and nation with 255 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. Each state winner receives $2,500 and an all-expense paid trip to Expo along with various other prizes. The overall Southeastern winner, Michael McDowell of Virginia, received $15,000 and various other prizes from the sponsors.
Hank Richardson and his two sons, John and Daniel, run a flower-growing business and have 35 local employees with more added during the busy seasons. They have 12 acres of heated greenhouse space and about 8 acres of outdoor pad growing space. Dixie Green grows annuals for national store chains and produces up to half a million spring plants per year.
Charles “Chuck” Obern, owner of C&B Farms, Inc., grows 30 different vegetables and herbs, both conventionally and organically, on its 1,500 acres. The farm’s staple is specialty produce: organic green beans, eggplant, baby bok choy, green cabbage, and an assortment of peppers, greens, radishes, and herbs such as basil, cilantro and other culinary varieties.
Since 1897, Dickey Farms has been producing high-quality peaches. Today, Robert Lee Dickey II (“Mr. Bob”), Robert Lee Dickey III (“Robert”) and Robert L. Dickey IV (“Lee”) combine their skills to carry on the farming legacy of growing the tastiest peaches in the South. Calling on deep family experience, they are planting year-round, inspecting every detail. This multi-generational experience makes them some of the most knowledgeable and skilled growers in the industry. And they love what they do.