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January 12, 2012

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

CONTACT:

Jennifer Whittaker, jawhittaker@gbf.org, (478) 474-0679, ext. 5284 or

Chad Carlton, carltonfarm@gmail.com, (770) 655-1503

 

METRO ATLANTA FARMERS NAMED RUNNERS-UP IN NATIONAL CONTEST

 

MACON, Ga. – Chad and Julie Carlton of Aragon in Polk County were one of three couples named runners-up for the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement Award held during the 93rd Annual AFBF Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii, Jan. 8-10. The achievement award recognizes young farmers and ranchers age 35 or younger who have excelled in their farm operations and exhibited superior leadership abilities. Participants were evaluated on a combination of their farm’s growth and financial progress, Farm Bureau leadership and leadership outside of Farm Bureau.

 

The Carltons raise free-range laying hens and sell the eggs directly to consumers and restaurants in the metro-Atlanta area. They also have a herd of grass-fed beef cattle and raise free-range turkeys and blueberries. They market their commodities on their website, www.carltonfarmsnaturalfoods.com.

 

The Carltons house their hens in chicken houses with retractable sides that allow the hens to go outside and roam within portable fencing, which protects the hens from predators and allows the Carltons to rotate the ground on which the hens roam. The Carltons’ flock has grown to 4,000 birds that produce around 1,050 dozen eggs weekly. Chad delivers the eggs directly to their customers in metro Atlanta three times a week on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Based solely on their application, the Carltons were ranked in the top ten out of 34 contestants in the competition. As one of the ten finalists, they were interviewed and were selected one of three couples to be named runners-up in the competition.

 

Other runners-up were Travis and Renae Gebhart of South Dakota and Kirk and Stephanie Liefer of Illinois. Ben and Jennifer Moore of Tennessee won the Achievement Award.

 

“It’s an honor to be recognized by an organization that we believe in so much. Applying for this award forced us to critically analyze our farm, which will help us make future decisions,” Chad said of competing for the award. “I would encourage all Georgia Farm Bureau young farmer families to set their goals to win this contest as we did. Win or not, competing will make you a better farmer, and we met several great people in the process of competing.”

 

As runners-up in the national competition, the Carltons received a Case IH Farmall 65A tractor, courtesy of Case IH, a $5,000 savings bond and a STIHL Farm Boss, both courtesy of STIHL.

 

“I’m very proud of how well Chad and Julie represented Georgia Farm Bureau in the national competition, “ said Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “The Carltons have worked hard to build their farm from the ground up while providing their customers with nutritious food. It’s gratifying to see they have been rewarded for their efforts on the national level.”

 

The Carltons were named the winners of the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Achievement Award during the Georgia Farm Bureau Convention in December.

 

Chad graduated from Berry College with a bachelor’s degree in animal science and a master’s degree in business administration. After college, Chad first developed the idea of direct-marketing agricultural commodities to customers while working on his family’s dairy farm in Rockmart, where he helped his father, Bobby, develop an agritourism business to offer farm tours and sell milk. He then decided to strike out on his own.

 

Chad and Julie’s farm is a team operation. Although Julie works full time as a pharmacist, she helps organize the egg delivery orders when she is home. The couple has a two-year-old daughter, Jersey.

 

Both Chad and Julie are active Polk County Farm Bureau (PCFB) members. Chad has served on the PCFB Board of Directors since 2001 and has served as the PCFB vice president since 2007. Julie has served on both the PCFB Women’s Committee and Legislative Committee since 2007. Chad and Julie served on the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee in 2005 and as chairs of the committee in 2006, during which time Chad served on the GFB Board of Directors as the young farmer representative. Chad was the GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet winner in 2007 and was a runner-up in the national AFBF Young Farmer Discussion Meet Contest in 2008.

 

Chad and Julie are also active members of Georgia Organics, for which Chad serves on the organization’s board of directors. Chad is a member of the Rockmart Masonic Lodge, and the Carltons are active members of Victory Baptist Church.

 

Georgia Farm Bureau is the largest general farm organization in the state and is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. The organization has 158 county offices, and approximately one out of nine Georgians are involved with Farm Bureau. Its volunteer members actively participate in local, district and state activities that promote agriculture awareness to their non-farming neighbors.

 

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For a high-resolution photo of the Carltons and GFB President Zippy Duvall, click here.

 

CUTLINE TO ACCOMPANY PHOTO: Pictured from left, Georgia Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall congratulates Georgia Farm Bureau members Chad and Julie Carlton for being named runners-up for the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award. The Carltons were one of three couples named as runners-up for the contest won by Ben and Jennifer Moore of Tennessee.