As always, it was a great time in Moultrie for the annual Willie B. Withers luncheon. A time for ag industry leaders and professionals to come together to celebrate the ag industry and celebrate those ten finalists for farmer of the year that embody the hard work and dedication it takes to produce our nation’s food, fiber, and shelter.
“It is a great opportunity to tell the good news of agriculture through this program. It is a contest. We do have one winner, but we have ten outstanding state nominees and the fact that we shine the spotlight on them. Then when they go back to their communities, they’ve already had opportunities to speak out on agriculture. They will have those in the future, whether they were state winner or southeastern winner. We got 296 farmers that have come through the program in 33 years and it’s a great network to promote agriculture, to educate the public on the value of food, fiber, and shelter, and what a national security issue it is to be able to feed and clothe ourselves as a nation,” says Chip Blalock, Executive Director of the Sunbelt Ag Expo.
In the end, it was Steve Cobb of Lake City, Arkansas that was named 2023 Sunbelt Ag Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year – an award Cobb says he is extremely humbled to receive.
“Overwhelmed. Shocked. Not expected. When you see the other state winners that you get to see their operations and just how incredibly impressive the operations are and how incredibly impressive they are as people. And the passion they have for what they do, it’s humbling and shocking at the same time to have received that award,” says Cobb.
Cobb, who has farmed his entire life, lives and breathes agriculture and is proud for the chance to represent the industry that means so much to him, his family, and the world in this capacity.
“Agriculture is such a critical, vital, important thing,” says Cobb. “We have become smaller and smaller in numbers and we’ve had less voice because of that in society. But it is a national security issue. What’s more important than food? We can talk about all different kinds of things, but just a few days without food, a few days without clean, fresh water, and things are really, really critical. So, to be a representative and to be involved in to be able to make a profession in the agriculture industry is amazing. Especially when you take the folks. I mean, it doesn’t matter whether it’s in South Georgia or Northeast Arkansas or any where you’re at in the United States, the farm and ranch people are just the same everywhere. Just the backbone of our country, actually.”
By: John Holcomb