GFB Young Farmers & Ranchers winners gear up for AFBF competition
By Jay Stone, Georgia Farm Bureau
Franklin County’s Colt and LeAnna Hart, Brian Fleming of Hart County and Willie Sizemore of Lee County, winners of the 2022 Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) competitive events, are preparing for national competitions to be held at the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Annual Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in January.
The YF&R program helps young Farm Bureau members shape their future and American agriculture through leadership development and personal growth opportunities. These competitions enable members to showcase their leadership experience, communication skills and successful business plans as they compete against the best of the best from each state Farm Bureau.
As part of the YF&R competitions, the top four competitors in the AFBF Achievement Award, Discussion Meet and Excellence in Ag areas will receive:
Winner (First Place): $35,000 credit towards a new Ford vehicle and paid registration to the AFBF FUSION Conference in Jacksonville, Florida, courtesy of Ford.
Runner-up (Second Place) receives: $25,000 credit towards new Case IH piece of equipment, courtesy of Case IH.
Third Place receives: A $2,500 Investing in Your Future cash prize, courtesy of AmericanAg™, a Case IH branded safe, courtesy of Case IH plus $1,665 worth of Stanley Black & Decker merchandise (PROTO, DeWalt, Stanley, Lenox & Irwin), courtesy of Stanley Black & Decker.
Fourth Place receives: A Case IH branded Solo Stove, courtesy of Case IH.
Colt and LeAnna Hart won the 2022 GFB YF&R Achievement Award.
Colt is a fourth-generation farmer who farms approximately 1,000 acres. He maintains a herd of approximately 600 cattle and raises broilers and goats. He also grows millet, ryegrass, Bermudagrass and wheat. The Hart farm also hosts the Franklin County Championship Rodeo.
Colt is chairman of the Franklin County Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee, and he and LeAnna represent GFB’s 2nd District on the state YF&R Committee. Colt serves as a volunteer firefighter. LeAnna homeschools the couple’s children and assists with day-to-day farm operations.
The Harts live in Royston and have five children: Jolee, Briar, Sage Laila and Trace.
Brian Fleming won the 2022 GFB YF&R Excellence in Agriculture Award.
Fleming, who has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Emmanuel College, works as operations manager for PTL Agriculture, the family farm owned by his father, Bobby. The farm produces soybeans, wheat, oats, milo and corn on approximately 1,000 acres, along with maintaining a small herd of brood cows and growing hay. Brian also runs a small seed-cleaning operation that serves area farmers.
Brian has chaired the Hart County Farm Bureau YF&R Committee since 2014 and grew the county’s YF&R program from just himself to its current membership of about 35. He served on the GFB YF&R Committee from 2019 to 2021 and regularly visits local schools to teach students about agriculture.
Brian and his wife, Nicole, live in Canon with their two children, Deklyn and Sloane.
Willie Sizemore won the 2022 GFB YF&R Discussion Meet, held July 14-16 during the GFB YF&R Summer Leadership Conference on Jekyll Island.
Sizemore, who graduated from the University of Georgia in 2021 with a degree in agricultural communications and journalism, is a student at the Mercer University Law School.