Ag Man, Woman and Influencer of the year named at Ag Appreciation Luncheon

Published 4:02 pm Friday, November 10, 2023

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Local farmers filled up the tables at Cloud Livestock Facility on Thursday for this year’s Ag Appreciation Luncheon. While enjoying lunch, provided by Gay’s Seafood, the attendees listened to this year’s keynote speaker, the Florida State Climatologist, David Zierden, while also waiting to find out this year’s Ag Man and Woman of the Year.

Tyler Giles welcomed the crowd, and welcomed local peanut farmer St. Elmo Harrison, who led the Pledge of Allegiance. BHS junior and 4-H president Olivia Griner blessed the meal. After this, Zierden took to the podium to deliver a 2023 weather summary, and an outlook for weather in spring 2024. He recapped this year’s major weather so far, namely Hurricane Idalia, which did significant damage to agriculture. Zierden then moved into discussing the effect global warming on hurricanes and summer temperatures, and the effects this can have on weather and agriculture. He also spoke about El Niño and La Niña phases, with the pattern having shifted to El Niño in the Pacific Ocean; this lead to predictions of more rain and storms around this time of year, with Zierden pointing out their obvious lateness. “Medium-range models don’t show much hope in the next seven days,” he said. “Hopefully after that, we’ll get a pattern shift and we’ll start seeing more rainfall, but in the near-term, it’s not looking like anything substantial.”

Zierden still predicted that there should be a more rainy winter and early spring. He closed by expressing his appreciation for farmers and agriculture, saying,”No one’s in this to get rich, there’s a lot easier ways to make money than farming.” He continued, “But it’s a way of life, connection to community and to the land, and also a noble mission of feeding and providing fiber to the world.”

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Following Zierden’s speech, the Ag Woman of the Year was introduced. This year, Glenn Heard introduced the winner, his wife Lee Ann Heard.

Next, Carla Dean Sanford introduced the Ag Man of the Year, her father, Lawrence Richard Dean.

Lastly, Lindsey Hayes presented the Ag Influencer Award to Hays-LTI.

Following this, Victoria Harrell and the BHS FFA students closed the ceremony by raffling off door prizes.