Farming is the backbone of the Colquitt County economy. As of 2017, the most recent statistics released by the University of Georgia, the county’s farm gate value — the cost of agricultural products at the time of harvest — was $544 million. That’s the largest county farm gate in Georgia and almost 4% of the whole state.

Most of the farms in the county are family-owned, although some are larger than what most folks think of as a “family farm.”

Back in 2014, The Moultrie Observer began recognizing the Farm Family of the Year. Families were suggested by local agribusinesses — the folks who do business with the farmers — and readers of The Observer voted from among their nominations.

Previous winners include J&R Baker Farms (2014), the Aldine Hart family (2015), the Andy and Tim Parker family (2016), the Ben Hickey family (2017) and the Clay Underwood family (2018). Congratulations to all of them.

This year, we want to open the nominations to all of our readers.

On Page 8B of Friday’s newspaper is a nomination form. Please fill out the form for your favorite local farm family and return it to The Observer.

We will be running the nomination form again, but don’t put this off: We need all the nominations by Oct. 18 so we can winnow the list to the top five.

If you'd rather, you can email the name of the family you're nominating along with your name and phone number to General Manager Laurie Gay at laurie.gay@gaflnews.com.

We will publish the list of the five top nominees on Oct. 23, and voting will start immediately. Voting will end two weeks later on Nov. 6.

The Observer will contact the top vote-getter for an interview and to get photos of their farm operation. The story and photos will publish in a special section later in November.

Join us in this salute to Colquitt County agriculture and the families that make it possible.

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