Mississippi and North Carolina vegetable growers have won their state Farmer of the Year awards and are eligible to compete with other southeast growers to become the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year.

Allen Eubanks, a Lucedale, Miss., grower of fresh vegetables, own Eubanks Produce Inc. Danny Kornegay, owner of Kornegay Farms, Princeton, N.C., is a sweet potato grower and packer who has explored diversifying from tobacco into squash, greens and watermelons.

Eubanks grows 2,800 acres which include watermelon, cantaloupe, sweet corn, bell peppers, cucumbers, squash and sweet potatoes in six Mississippi and Alabama counties and is one of the state"s largest vegetable growers, according to a news release.

Kornegay grows 800 acres of sweet potatoes in three North Carolina and two South Carolina counties and Kornegay Family Produce can store 450,000 bushels of sweet potatoes.

After graduating from Mississippi State University, Eubanks returned to the family farm and transitioned it to vegetable production.

The operation is involved in the Farm to School program, according to the release.

The state winners will receive $2,500 and other prizes and trips to the Oct. 20 Sunbelt Ag Expo farm show in Moultrie, Ga., where the overall winner is scheduled to be announced . The program is sponsored by Jacksonville, Fla.-based Swisher International.