Hillsborough and Polk County Young Farmers & Ranchers, Finalist in Annual Awards

August 15, 2020

By: Staff Report

DOVER, Fla.- The finalists have been selected for Florida Farm Bureau’s 2020 Achievement in AgricultureExcellence in Agriculture, and Discussion Meet awards. The awards honor young farmers and ranchers between the ages of 18-35 for their hard work, innovation, and ability to solve top agricultural challenges. The finalists will compete mid-October and the award winners will be announced at the Florida Farm Bureau Virtual Annual Meeting, Oct. 22, 2020.

The 2020 Achievement in Agriculture Award finalists are:

  • Chance Clay (Putnam County): Clay is a cattle, timber and blueberry farmer in San Mateo.
  • Michael and Brooke Hill (Lake County): The Hills manage Southern Hill Farms, a U-Pick and commercial blueberry farm in Clermont.
  • Dennis and Sarah Beth Carlton (Hillsborough County): The Carltons are cattle ranchers and strawberry growers in Dover.

The Achievement in Agriculture Award winner will receive a new Ford® F-150 pick-up truck, courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Companies, a $500 cash award and an expense-paid trip to the 2021 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in San Diego, California, Jan. 8-13.

The Achievement in Agriculture Award recognizes members of Florida Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program who excel in their involvement in agriculture, leadership abilities and participation in Farm Bureau and other civic and service organizations. Each Achievement in Agriculture award finalist will undergo an on-site farm visit by a team of qualified judges as part of the final selection process.

The 2020 Excellence in Agriculture Award finalists are:

  • K’Leigh Combs (Duval County): Combs is the supervisor for her family’s Agritourism program in addition to managing other entities of the family ranch.
  • Matt Griffin (Lake County): Griffin is an experienced farm manager with a B.S. degree in Food & Resource Economics. He is a past member of the Florida Farm Bureau State Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Group.
  • Scarlett Jackson (Polk County): Jackson serves on the Florida Farm Bureau State Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Group and is the Executive Director of the Florida FFA Foundation.

The Excellence in Agriculture Award is based on an applicant’s involvement in agriculture, leadership ability, and participation in Farm Bureau and other civic organizations.

The 2020 Discussion Meet finalists are:

  • Tyler Pittman (Alachua): Pittman is a Gilchrist County Extension Agent and serves on the Alachua County Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee.
  • Rebecca Hall (Alachua): Hall is the co-founder and vice president of Promised Land Family Ministries. The mission of the non-profit is to teach children about God through agriculture.
  • Matthew Gonzalez (Levy County): Gonzalez holds a BAS in Diversified Agriculture and is the current farm consultant manager at Sparr Building and Farm Supply.
  • Ben Morris (Palm Beach County): Ben Morris is a member of the Florida Farm Bureau State Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Group. He works for Farm Credit of Florida.

The Discussion Meet contest is designed to simulate a committee meeting during which discussion and active participation are expected from each participant. This competition is evaluated on an exchange of ideas and information on a pre-determined topic.

Both the Discussion Meet and Excellence Award winners will receive a John Deere XUV 560E, courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company, $500 in cash and an expense-paid trip to the 2021 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in San Diego, California, Jan. 8-13.

Florida Farm Bureau, the state’s largest general agricultural organization, represents more than 142,000 member-families. We serve to enhance farm enterprise and improve rural communities.

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