Jerry Deese, a custom farm applicator with Gill Custom Application in Marion, Ark., has been named one of four finalists to be honored as 2014 Operator of the Year. Conducted by AGCO Application Equipment, the annual program recognizes the top professional applicators throughout North America based on their professionalism, customer service and community involvement.
Deese is recognized for his dedication and excellent customer service. “His extensive knowledge in commercial application is second to none,” said Richie Gill, owner of Gill Custom Application, who nominated him. “Jerry treats every customer as if they were his family.”
A 25-year application veteran who covers 50,000 to 60,000 acres per year, Deese said it is a thrill to be a finalist. “It’s truly one of the best honors I have ever had,” said Deese, who has applied over a million total acres in his career. “It’s a blessing for me to be chosen in the top four from all the operators nominated.”
He was also recognized for his service to the community. Deese serves as a Sunday school teacher, coaches his sons’ sports teams and built a playground by hand for underprivileged children.
Deese and the three other finalists will be guests of AGCO at the 2014 Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) Conference & Expo Dec. 2-4 in New Orleans, where one of them will be announced as this year’s Operator of the Year winner and receive a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The other three finalists are Jeff Hammond of Henderson, Mich., Brent Klein of Ashton, Idaho, and Jeff Morris of Hammond, Ill.
“These finalists were selected because they all demonstrate an exceptional level of dedication to their profession, their customers and their communities,” said Mark Sharitz, AGCO director of national accounts and government sales, who leads the Operator of the Year program. “Our 2014 finalists consistently go above and beyond expectations, earning the respect and admiration of their agri-retailers, the farmers they serve and their fellow applicators.”
Now in its ninth year, Operator of the Year is designed to pay tribute to the top customer applicators throughout the U.S. and Canada who spend long hours in the field every season, utilizing the latest application equipment and technologies to apply fertilizer and crop protection products on thousands of farm acres. All nominees receive a certificate from AGCO to recognize their achievements in one of the most demanding jobs in agriculture.