2010 Farm City Awards in Marianna

By: Vanessa Nguyen
By: Vanessa Nguyen

Marianna - 2010's harsh weather, insect infestations and higher costs made it tough on farmers.

But they put those concerns aside Friday morning to honor some of the best in the business at the 37th annual Farm City Awards in Marianna.

The honorees were humbled by the more than 300 people who attended.

Friday's 37th annual Farm City Awards drew one of the largest crowds in recent years.

Many winners like Chris and Tammy Long of Bascom were surprised by the honor.

"We're very honored to have won the award, there are a lot farmers who are probably more deserving than we were," says Tammy.

As the 2010 Cotton Farmers of the Year, the Longs set themselves apart for how they've managed to protect their cotton and peanut crops from Palmer Pigweed.

The herbicide-resistant weed became quite a headache for Panhandle farmers.

"Once you get it in the field, it's like wildfire, it'll spread from year to year and it'll get to a point where you can lose a field," says Chris Long.

Other awards included Cattleman, Conservationist, Tree, Peanut and Hay Farmer of the Year.

"It's not really a competition, it's a recognition," says Jackson County Extension Director Doug Mayo.

He says the event is a tradition of honoring agriculture's impact on the local economy.

"Typically farmers make up less than 2% of our overall population and they kind of are forgotten and overlooked, we don't think about them as being small business owners, they don't have a storefront, they don't have a listing in the yellow pages necessarily."

RA and Ardella Griffin accepted the honor of 2010 Outstanding Farm Family.

Four generations of work in the family business!

Their son, Kenny Griffin, says, "it's all about family, for those kids who are not here today that are down the state, when they come home, their whole deal is to come help around their farms, so that is the nucleus of what makes the family and to be honored as the farm family is the real key element."

"Kind of the passing of one of our long-time farm families," adds Mayo.

The Griffins conclude their award with more than 50 years of selling produce on Highway 231, marking a partial end of an era.

Mayo estimates Jackson County farmers generate and spend more than $70 million dollars annually in farm sales.

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