Sunbelt Expo Names Tifton Farmer, Philip Grimes SE Farmer of the Year

October 17, 2014 by Linda


*Philip Grimes, a farmer from Tifton known for his conservation practices and high crop yields, has been selected as the overall winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award for 2014.

Grimes was named as the overall winner during the Willie B. Withers Luncheon held during the opening day of the 2014 Sunbelt Ag Expo farm show this week in Moultrie. Grimes was chosen Farmer of the Year over nine other state winners who were finalists for the award.*

*"it feels so good to represent the state of Georgia with such a prestigious award," Grimes said.

Grimes has farmed for 37 years and operates 2,210 acres with peanuts, cotton, cantaloupes, broccoli, snap beans and corn. The Grimes family’s farming business has grown from 200 acres of rented farmland in the mid-1970s. The biggest portion of his land, with 850 acres, is planted in cotton, but he also operates Docia Farms and a state-of-the-art cantaloupe packing shed.

This is the 25th year for the Farmer of the Year award. It recognizes excellence in agricultural production and farm management, along with leadership in farm and community organizations.

The judges were impressed with Grimes’ high peanut yields of more than 7,000 pounds per acre. They were also impressed with his three-bale cotton yields produced after growing cantaloupes on the land during the same year.

“All of the state winners are great farmers, but our judges unanimously agreed that Philip earned the honor of being named as the overall winner,” said Brian Kirksey of Arkansas, this year’s senior judge.

“Philip pays close attention to all of the important details of growing high-yield crops,” says Kirksey. “We were also impressed with his diversification, his doublecropping, his food safety practices, how he brands his cantaloupes and his meticulous documentation of his farming practices. He has spent a lot of money to make sure he has enough water for irrigation. We were also impressed with his efforts to attract wildlife and his conservation practices.”

As Southeastern Farmer of the Year, Grimes receives a $15,000 cash award plus $2,500 as a state winner from Swisher International. He also receives the use of a Massey Ferguson tractor for a year, a $500 gift certificate from the Southern States cooperative, the choice of either $1000 in PhytoGen cottonseed or $500 to a designated charity from PhytoGen cottonseed and a Columbia jacket from Ivey’s Outdoor and Farm Supply.*