By Jay Stone, Georgia Farm Bureau
Congratulations to David and Lindsey Morgan, Cole and Nicole Roper, and Andy Paul for winning state honors in the 2023 Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Achievement Award, Excellence in Agriculture Award and Discussion Meet. These competitive events were held July 12-15 at the YF&R Summer Leadership Conference on Jekyll Island.
All three contests are open to GFB members between the ages of 18 and 35.
Each state event winner received a John Deere Gator and a free trip to the 2024 American Farm Bureau Federation Convention in January in Salt Lake City, where each will compete for national honors.
Farm Credit Associations of Georgia sponsor the Achievement Award. Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance sponsors all the awards. Lasseter Tractor Company helps to sponsor the John Deere Gators for all three contests.
GFB Achievement Award
From left, Chris & Paige Little and Allie & Luke Andrews were Top 3 Finalists for the YF&R Achievement Award, which was won by Lindsey & David Morgan. / Photo by Logan Thomas
David and Lindsey Morgan, from Pierce County, won the achievement award, which recognizes outstanding farmers who make most of their income from production agriculture. The couple runs a diversified operation. David is a third-generation farmer who grows cotton, peanuts, vegetables and a variety of grains as cover crops. He also owns timber land and provides land-clearing services. Lindsey teaches social studies at Ware County High School.
The Morgans co-chair the Pierce County Farm Bureau YF&R Committee. David has been involved in the YF&R program since 2006 and Lindsey since 2011.
The couple lives in Waycross with their daughters Madison, Blythe and Landyn. They received a John Deere 590M four-seat Gator.
Chris and Paige Little of White County and Luke and Allie Andrews of Lamar County were the other finalist families in the GFB Achievement Award competition. The Littles raise cattle for beef and grow rye, wheat and hay. The Andrews raise cattle and broiler chickens while growing hay.
All three finalist families received $500 cash.
The achievement award finalists were evaluated by independent contest judges during on-farm visits.
GFB Excellence in Agriculture Award
From left, Addie Tucker and Jay Moon were Top 3 Finalists for the YF&R Excellence in Agriculture Award, which was won by Cole & Nicole Roper. / Photo by Logan Thomas
Cole and Nicole Roper, from Franklin County, won the GFB Excellence in Agriculture Award, which honors agriculturalists who earn most of their income from something other than production agriculture and are ag advocates.
The couple raises cattle and grows corn, which they sell in their GFB Certified Farm Market, Cole’s Sweet Corn. Cole works as a broiler supervisor for Fieldale Farms. Nicole is an agriculture teacher at West Oak Middle School in Westminster, South Carolina.
Cole is a Franklin County Farm Bureau (FCFB) director. He serves on the FCFB Scholarship Committee. Nicole serves on the FCFB Farmers Market Committee and the FCFB Women’s Leadership Committee.
The couple lives in Carnesville with their daughter, Blakely. They received a John Deere 560E two-seat Gator.
Jay Moon of Morgan County and Addie Tucker of Wilcox County were the other finalists for the Excellence in Agriculture Award. All the finalists received $500 cash.
Moon is a dairy farmer and works as executive director of the Putnam County Farm Service Agency. Tucker is an agriculture teacher with Wilcox County Schools.
The GFB Excellence in Agriculture Award finalists gave presentations at the YF&R Summer Leadership Conference outlining their positions on ag issues and their advocacy efforts.
GFB Discussion Meet
From left, Bristol Wells, Heather Cabe and Rachel Dunaway were final four finalists in the YF&R Discussion Meet, which was won by Andy Paul. / Photo by Logan Thomas
Andy Paul advanced through the GFB Discussion Meet to win in the fourth round. Discussion Meet competitors talk about agricultural issues and possible solutions in a committee-style forum. It’s conducted in tournament style, with all contestants going through two preliminary rounds. Then the top 16 compete to see who advances to the final four.
Paul, of Oglethorpe County, works as a public relations representative for Georgia EMC. He is a former state and national FFA president. He and his wife, Jordan, live in Winterville. Paul received a John Deere 560E two-seat Gator.
The other final four competitors were Heather Cabe of Franklin County, Rachel Dunaway of Floyd County and Bristol Wells of Wilcox County. All the finalists received $350 cash.
Topics the contestants discussed this year were: water management challenges; how Farm Bureau can welcome and engage diverse agricultural communities; meeting sustainability goals while feeding a growing population; and how to elect officials who understand farmers’ challenges.