More than 1,600 attendees were able to fine-tune their farming operations with information gained at the 44th annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show and Conference on Jan. 16, 2020, at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center in Tifton, Georgia. The show is sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission.
The one-day show offered farmers a chance to view the products and services of 113 exhibitors, as well as a day of education. The University of Georgia Peanut Team presented an educational peanut production seminar focusing on common mistakes with fertility, weed, insect and disease management that reduce a farmer’s profitability. An industry seed seminar was held, which highlighted peanut varieties available for 2020.
The Georgia Peanut Commission installed the sixth recipient into the Georgia Peanut Hall of Fame by inducting U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson. A portrait of Sen. Isakson, unveiled at the Georgia Peanut Farm Show, will be displayed at the GPC headquarters in Tifton, Ga. Senator Isakson holds the distinction of being the only Georgian ever to have been elected to the state House, state Senate, U.S. House and U.S. Senate. In addition, in 2016 he became the first Georgia Republican ever to be elected to a third term in the U.S. Senate. He officially retired from the U.S. Senate on Dec. 31, 2019.
The Georgia Peanut Commission presented awards to individuals and businesses for their service to the peanut industry and promotion of peanuts across the United States. The award recipients were: Distinguished Service Award – Dr. Joe West, assistant dean for the University of Georgia Tifton Campus; Research and Education Award – National Peanut Research Laboratory; Media Award – posthumously to John Leidner, freelance writer for the Southeastern Peanut Farmer, and David Maxwell, managing editor of the Donalsonville News; and two Georgia Peanut Special Awards to Southern Ag Carriers and to Peanut Butter & Jesus in Tifton, Georgia.
The Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award, sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission and BASF, was presented to Jonathan Hitchcock of Tennille, Georgia. The award is presented to one Georgia peanut farmer based upon the applicant’s overall farm operation; environmental and stewardship practices; and leadership and community service activities. Hitchcock’s farming operation includes 4,200 acres of peanuts, cotton, corn, soybeans, oats, sorghum, hay and a cow/calf beef operation. Hitchcock strives to utilize innovative stewardship practices on the farm to reduce his carbon footprint and water usage. He is also active within a number of community and agriculture organizations within his county and across the state of Georgia.
In addition to the Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award, the Georgia Peanut Commission and Agri Supply presented the Outstanding Georgia Peanut Farmers of the Year Award to individuals representing each of the commission’s five districts. The GPC board members started this award to honor farmers who have the passion, diligence, leadership and desire to see the peanut industry in the state of Georgia continue to be the highest quality. Winners include: District 1 posthumously – Jud Greene, Brinson; District 2 – Charles Paulk, Ocilla; District 3 – Wade McElveen, Brooklet; District 4 – Ronney Ledford Sr., Vienna; and District 5 – Mike McLendon, Oglethorpe. These farmers received a sign to display at their farm and gift cards from Agri Supply and the Georgia Peanut Commission.
At the close of the day, the presentation of the Grand Door Prize donated by Kelley Manufacturing Co. was presented to Waylon Hitchcock of Tennille, Georgia. Hitchcock received one season’s use of a new KMC peanut combine and the option of purchasing the combine from a KMC dealer with $15,000 off the list price at the end of the 2020 season.
Amadas Industries also provided the Grower Door Prize to Gregg McClellan of Alapaha, Georgia, and Wayne Nash of Ray City, Georgia. McClellan received a certificate for $10,000 towards the purchase of a new Amadas self-propelled peanut combine or $5,000 towards the purchase of a new Amadas pull-type peanut combine or $2,000 towards the purchase of a new Amadas peanut digger or $1,000 towards the purchase of a new Amadas peanut dump cart. Nash received a customized Grizzly cooler and a $1,000 certificate for Amadas parts.