BERT DRISKELL IS NAMED ALABAMA FARMER OF THE YEAR
Bert Driskell of Grand Bay, Alabama, the head of an all-around farming operation which farms almost 8,000 acres in South Alabama, has been chosen as the Lancaster/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year for Alabama.
Driskell, who has been farming for 37 years, is one of eight winners from Southeastern states who are finalists for the Lancaster/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year honor for 2001.
Driskell and his two brothers have a farming operation which includes corn, peanuts, cotton and a beef cattle and stocker calf operation with more than 100 head of cattle.
Driskell was chosen for the Alabama honor in judging conducted by the Alabama Farmers Federation. He and seven other state winners will be the guests of Swisher International during the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition in Moultrie, GA, Oct. 16-18.
Swisher International, its Lancaster Premium Chewing Tobacco brand, and the Sunbelt Expo are sponsoring this award for the 12th consecutive year. Swisher has contributed more than $500,000 in cash awards and honors since this award was initiated. Additionally, the Lancaster/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year will receive a $12,500 cash award from Swisher International, a year's supply of Dickies clothing from the Williamson-Dickie Company, the use of a Massey Ferguson farm tractor from AGCO, Inc., a custom crafted safe from Misty Morn Safes and a $1,000 gift certificate from Southern States Cooperative, Inc.
As the Alabama winner, Driskell will receive a $1,500 cash award from Swisher International, an expense paid trip to the Sunbelt Expo and a $500 gift certificate from Southern States Cooperative.
Driskell will join the other seven state winners, Jim Huffard of Crockett, Virginia; Gene Batson of Mt. Dora, FL; Willard Jack of Blezoni, MS; Russell F. (Rusty) Cox of Monroe, NC; W. R. Simpson of Manning, SC; Malcolm Burchfiel of Newbern, TN; and Daniel Johnson of Alma, Georgia.
Driskell began farming in 1960 when he was in high school with a farrow to finish hog operation. In 1963, he joined his brothers who had their own farms to form the modern Driskell farms.
Driskell Farms practices the latest conservation technology with terraces, grass strips and waterways and no till and minimum till practices on their farm land.
Additionally, Driskell has been a leader in developing a cotton gin and a peanut buying point in their area to handle the Driskell Farms production as well as those of neighboring farms.
He and his wife, Linda, have three children, Debra Miller and Darrin and Kevin Driskell, who are in the farming business.
Previous Alabama winners include Ricky Wiggins of Anderson, 1990; George Kaiser Sr. of Foley, 1991; Allen Bragg of Toney, 1992; Sykes Martin of Courtland, 1993; David Pearce of Browns, 1994; Glenn Jones of Blountsville, 1995; Raymond Jones of Huntsville, 1996; Dan Miller of Greensboro, 1997; Homer Tate of Meridianville, 1998; Eugene Glenn of Hillsboro, 1999; and George T. Hamilton of Hillsboro, 2000.
Driskell's farm, and those of all of the state winners were visited by a distinguished group of judges in early August. The judges include Rogers Reynolds of Sumter, SC; Dr. Jim Marion, former Dean of the Auburn School of Agriculture; and Jimmie Loftis, Director of Public Relations and Government Affairs for Southern States Cooperative, Inc.
Driskell was chosen as the Alabama winner in judging conducted by the Alabama Farmers Federation. J. Paul Till is the state coordinator.