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Delta grower represents state at Sunbelt Ag Expo
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Rick Parsons of Vance is Mississippi's Farmer of the Year and the state's nominee for the 2003 southeastern award during the 26th annual Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition in Moultrie, Ga.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service chose Parsons for the honor because of his exemplary management skills with Fewell Planting Co. The farming operation covers 9,421 acres in Quitman and Tallahatchie counties, including 3,892 acres of irrigated corn that produces 176.5 bushels per acre.
The 56-year-old Parsons will compete against nominees from seven other states for the honor of being the 2003 Lancaster/Sunbelt Ag Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year during the three-day event. State winners receive $2,500 each. The overall winner receives an additional $14,000, among other prizes.
Jimmy Avery, an administrator with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the MSU graduate exemplifies "the ultimate farm manager."
"Rick works hard to make a farming operation as efficient and productive as possible," Avery said. "He gives careful attention to technology, bookkeeping, precision agriculture, aerial photographs, a good labor force, efficiency and his marketing strategy."
Mississippi will be in the spotlight this fall during the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition, which is considered "North America's Premier Farm Show™." Avery said the focus on the Magnolia State will give thousands of people the opportunity to see the impact of Mississippi's agriculture.
We want to show a holistic view of the economic results of all the surrounding industries and the people who make up agriculture's big picture for Mississippi," he said. "We plan to highlight Mississippi's efforts in agriculture, community development, youth and families, economic development and natural resources."
Avery said each year of the international exposition, the state has been able to show off some of the best farmers in the nation. Since 1990, Mississippi farmers have won the top honor three times, which is second only to the state of Florida with four.
Regional winners from Mississippi have been Kenneth Hood of Gunnison in 1992, Ed Hester of Benoit in 1995 and Willard Jack of Belzoni in 2001.
The award program is an effort by the contributing organizations to reward farmers for their commitment of excellence to the farming industry; efficiency in farming practices; participation and leadership in community services; sound management and financial practices; planning for future development and changes; and sound environmental practices. Another goal of the awards program is to bring attention to those who feed, clothe and provide shelter to the world.
For more information on the event, visit the online site at http://www.sunbeltexpo.com.