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December 05, 2004   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
December 05, 2004

Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry A. Newby, left, congratulates 2004 Outstanding Young Farm Family Mike and Shannon Dee of Pickens County and their daughters, Victoria and Isabella.
Mike and Shannon Dee of Pickens County were selected as the 2004 Outstanding Young Farm Family of Alabama during the Alabama Farmers Federation's 83rd annual meeting in Mobile, Dec. 5. The Dees were selected to compete for the award after being named the Outstanding Young Farm Family in the Feed Grains Division earlier this year. They operate a 10,000-acre diversified, family farm in Pickens County where they produce corn, soybeans, timber and beef cattle.

As the 2004 Outstanding Young Farm Family, the Dees will participate in many activities promoting Alabama agriculture across the state during the coming year. They received the use of a 2005 Chevrolet TrailBlazer for the next year and a personal computer package from ValCom Business Centers of Alabama.

While Mike's sister, Annie Dee, runs much of the business side of the farm, he's responsible for the physical operation of the farm and serves as a full-time manager. Having such a large farm, it might seem difficult to keep track of everything. But using the latest technology, the Dees utilize precision farming to break down their operation into 10-acre tracks or even to one-acre at a time. And it's working. This year, the Dees harvested one of their best corn crops ever, and soybeans look promising as well.

"That's the key to being successful," Mike said. "You've got to manage each acre and get the very most you can out of it. The more precision ag we can use and the more we can best utilize our inputs, the more we can yield and the more competitive we can be."

Shannon, who grew up in the small town of Fayette, said despite her background, moving to the farm was a big change. But, she added, it's one that's made her a better person. "Life is simpler here and things are more laid back," she said. "Living here lets me see the small things. I think our kids are really fortunate to grow up here and to see their daddy farming. They see the rewards of good, hard work."

Shannon was a teacher when the couple married, and she plans to return to that career when their daughters Victoria and Isabella are older, but for now, she said her most important job is to support Mike and be at home with their children. She said their daughters are learning lessons that will last them a lifetime.

"The kids can see the importance of a rain. They can see Mother Nature first hand and they can take in the wonderful work ethic they see and hopefully apply it to their lives," she said.

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