A Vidalia onions grower, Robert Dasher, and a sweet corn grower, John Hundley, have been named Georgia and Florida Farmers of the Year, respectively, as part of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year awards.
Robert Dasher has been growing for 42 years, starting with 130 acres, and increasing to 4,800 acres, according to a news release. His farm, G&R Farms, is a family partnership. Along with onions, they grow corn, soybeans, peanuts, wheat, rye, pecans, and a few tomatoes, according to the release. They have converted from diesel to electric power, use controlled atmosphere storage and market their own onions. Dasher has been awarded Soil Conservationist of the Year in 1982 and Vidalia Onion Grower of the Year in 2004.
Hundley has been growing for 44 years, with almost 16,000 now. He also grows sugar cane, green beans, radishes, celery, squash, peanuts, cotton and some rice.
Georgia has had two and Florida six previous winners of the Southeastern Farmer of the Year.
Altogether, there are nine states with award finalists. Winners of the state awards receive $2,500, a jacket, $700 in gift certificates and a trip to the Sunbelt Expo. The farms will be visited by judges Aug. 9-13 and the winner will be announced at the expo on Oct. 19.