GFB's Bottomses named National Outstanding Young Farmers
By Outstanding Farmers of America
Matt and Melissa Bottoms of Pike County were selected national winners for 2021 at the annual National Outstanding Young Farmers Awards Congress held Feb. 3-6 on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Matt is a GFB 5th District director and president of Pike County Farm Bureau.
Four national winners were selected for the award based on their progress in an agricultural career, extent of soil and water conservation practices, and contributions to the well-being of the community, state, and nation.
Guest Master of Ceremonies Tom Steever of Brownfield Ag News announced the four national winners for 2022 and 2021 after last year’s event was postponed. The three other national winners for 2021 are from New Mexico, Wisconsin, and New Jersey. National winners received a savings bond from corporate sponsor John Deere and the opportunity to travel to represent the NOYF at future agricultural events.
The Bottomses operate a nursery and row crop farm, growing soybeans, corn, and millet.
As a fifth-generation farmer, Matt said he does not remember a time in his life when he was not involved in farming. Since taking an official leadership role in the family nursery in 2000, he has focused on increasing yields, improving plant quality, and marketing his products while working closely with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to develop erosion control measures and improve nutrient retention.
Developing new machinery to decrease dependence on labor has been a priority as well, including the development of a rotary hoe that eliminates weeks’ worth of hand labor and an overhead watering system that decreases the time spent soaking thousands of newly potted plants. The couple has three children: Anna, Madelyn, and Abigail. Melissa manages the farm office and works in the nursery. They are both active in Georgia Farm Bureau, FFA alumni, and various ag organizations.
The NOYF program is the oldest farmer recognition program in the United States, selecting its first group of national winners in 1955. The program is sponsored by John Deere, administered by the Outstanding Farmers of America (OFA), and supported by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents and the U.S. Jaycees.