Moultrie Observer


October 16, 2012

Florida grower named Southeastern Farmer of the Year

MOULTRIE — A Tuesday luncheon Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition featured two governors, two state agriculture commissioners, two U.S. senators and a handful of U.S. representatives — but only one Southeast Farmer of the Year.

Florida dairy and row-crop grower Dale McClellan was named during the opening day of the three-day farm show as the winner among 10 farmers from Southern states.

Prior to the announcement of the winner, the audience of several hundred gathered in a massive Maule Air Inc. hanger heard remarks from Govs. Nathan Deal of Georgia and Alabama counterpart Robert Bentley as well as Agriculture Commissioners Gary Black and John McMillan.

In one of the more emotional acceptance speeches, McClellan, the 25th winner of the Southeastern Farmer of the Year Award sponsored by Jacksonville, Fla.-manufactured Swisher Sweets and Sunbelt Exposition, credited stopping drinking in 1983 with allowing him to reach his full potential.

He also said he had help from family and mentors along the way.

“Thanks for the mentors who taught me failure can be a great learning experience,” said McClellan, who was visibly moved and sobbed during his acceptance speech.

In an interview following the ceremony the 57-year-old McClellan, whose Thonotosassa operation includes hay, corn and corn silage, oats, cattle and processing plant, said he initially felt good about his chances. But after watching video of the other nine state winners Monday night he said he felt that all of the 10 had quality agricultural operations and any would have been worthy of taking home the grand prize.

The award includes $15,000 from Swisher, use of a Massey Ferguson tractor for a year, $1,000 gift certificate from Southern States farm cooperative, $1,000 in cotton seed from PhytoGen or $500 donation to a chosen charity, jacket and other prizes.

“I’m humble to be the one,” McClellan said. “We were so equal it’s a shock that I was the one. I’m just shocked. I’m still blown away for this to happen in this point in my life.”

Recently McClellan has been active in protecting a school tradition.

“There’s been a lot of push to get sugar out of milk,” he said. “We’ve kept flavored milk in schools in Florida.”

To that end McClellan has been working to bring sugar content down with an idea of using white chocolate to reduce the amount of regular chocolate milk while keeping the taste.

The other state winners each received $2,500 from Swisher, a $500 certificate from Southern States, and the cotton seed or charitable donation from PhytoGen.

Those winners are: Samuel Givhan, Alabama; Heath Long, Arkansas; Barry Martin, Georgia; Paul “Jim” Sidebottom, Kentucky; William Spain, Mississippi; Gary Blake, North Carolina; Edward “Monty” Rast Jr., South Carolina; Steve Dixon, Tennessee; and Maxwell Watkins, Virginia.

In an interview following the lunch, Moultrie’s hometown U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss said that work on the federal farm bill, a topic much on the minds of many in the audience, could be picked up during the “lame duck” legislative session following the Nov. 6 election.

“If they do, we’re ready to conference with them,” Chambliss said.

The Senate balked at an earlier House version that he said was unfair to the Southeastern U.S. Chambliss said he will support farm legislation that is fair to all regions of the country as well as to other competing interests.


Text Only
  • profile shot 2.jpg Colquitt County's newest Extension agent, Jeremy Kichler

    Jeremy Kichler joined the Colquitt County office of the UGA Extension Service in March after 10 years in Macon County.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Kichler, Jeremy.jpg Make plans now for next winter’s hungry cattle

    Jeremy Kichler, Colquitt County's Extension agent, answers questions that have come up recently in his work for the Extension Service. This week's topic is advance planning strategies for feeding cattle herds next winter.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • USDA sets date for soybean request for referendum

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that it will offer soybean producers the opportunity to request a referendum on the Soybean Promotion and Research Order, as authorized under the Soybean Promotion, Research, and Consumer Information Act.

    April 18, 2014

  • Growing Georgia, April 2014

    April 18, 2014

  • 0415 Davis.jpeg Ga. Farm Bureau honors Lakyn Davis

    Georgia Farm Bureau honored Colquitt County FFA member Lakyn Davis, her parents and Colquitt County FFA advisers Matt Howell, Stacey Beacham and Shawn Collins during a dinner the organization hosted on March 28 at the GFB state office for the eight students who won grand champion awards at the 2013 State 4-H & FFA Market Goat and Lamb Show and the 2014 Georgia Junior National Livestock Show.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Winning essay can score an ABAC scholarship

    The winner of a soil stewardship essay contest will take home $75 and a one-year scholarship to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

    April 12, 2014

  • Kichler, Jeremy.jpg Extension agent answers your questions

    As a new county Extension agent, starting in Colquitt County on March 1st I have gotten a lot of questions.  Let’s discuss some of the more common ones that I have gotten over the last week.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0410 Ag profile.jpg UGA researcher focuses on soil moisture

    George Vellidis has been fascinated by agricultural engineering since he was a high school student in Thessaloniki, Greece. As a professor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in Tifton, Vellidis is living out his childhood passion every day.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0410 ag hill 2014.jpg Nursery landscape team sixth in state

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Farm disaster programs to begin sign-ups April 15

    U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan M. Garcia announced Monday that farmers and ranchers can sign-up for disaster assistance programs, reestablished and strengthened by the 2014 Farm Bill, beginning Tuesday, April 15.

    April 7, 2014

Business Marquee
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content

Should abortion be legal for victims of rape?

No. That baby is alive, no matter how horrible its manner of conception.
Yes. It's wrong to force a woman to carry the child of her rapist.
Abortion is a private matter and should be legal for everyone.
     View Results