Sunbelt Ag Expo Honors Bart Davis - 2023 Georgia Farmer of the Year!
Updated: Oct 18
GEORGIA RADIO — Bart Davis, a dedicated farmer from Doerun, Georgia, has been honored as the 2023 Georgia Farmer of the Year during the Sunbelt Ag Expo. This prestigious award recognizes Mr. Davis's outstanding contributions to agriculture, his dedication to farming, and his leadership in the industry.
Bart Davis, a lifelong farmer, has deep roots in the heart of Georgia's agricultural community. He grew up on his parents' farm, which consisted of around 500 acres, and had a small herd of mother cows and a hog operation. Bart's early involvement in FFA and Young Farmers organizations foreshadowed his lifelong commitment to farming.
However, tragedy struck during Bart's senior year of high school in 1982 when both of his parents passed away, leaving him to take over the family farm just before graduation. Undeterred, he assumed the responsibilities of the operation and embarked on a remarkable journey in agriculture.
Since 1982, Bart Davis has transformed the family farm from its initial 310 rented acres and 190 owned acres into a massive 4,975-acre operation. Over the years, he shifted his focus to cotton and peanuts, responding to the changing agricultural landscape.
Bart's commitment to farming is a family affair. He married Paula P. Davis, who has been an essential part of the business since their marriage in 1984. Together, they raised three children - Henry Bart ("Trey") Davis, III, Jedd A. Davis, and Lakyn Davis Buckner, all of whom are now actively involved in the family farming operations. These children, raised with a strong farming background, have excelled in organizations such as the National Junior Angus Association, FFA, and 4-H.
Today, all three children serve as managing partners of Davis Family Farms and Davis Cattle Farms. Trey oversees the finances, marketing, risk management, and long-term planning. Jedd manages personnel, logistics, and field equipment. Lakyn, who is a Registered Nurse, divides her time between her profession and assisting with the daily farm operations.
The Davis family's farming enterprise has also evolved over the years. They've shifted their focus towards the seedstock industry and converted their commercial cattle operation into a breeding program, specializing in breeds that thrive in the southeastern US. They raise purebred Angus and Hereford stock along with elite F1 commercials. Additionally, they grow dry and irrigated cotton, irrigated corn, and dry and irrigated peanuts.
Bart Davis shared that they have implemented sophisticated marketing strategies, including contracts with OLAM Peanut for peanut seed production, forward contracting, and the use of futures and options. These strategies help them manage risks and market their cotton and corn efficiently.
Innovatively, the Davis family is exploring the concept of "dirt to shirt" by connecting consumers to the origin of their cotton products. They've already initiated small-scale direct sales to companies like J. Crew and are eager to expand this concept in the future.
On the cattle side of their operation, they primarily focus on seedstock and have established a loyal customer base for their cattle. They market their steers annually, with the best of the lot serving as replacement bulls. The number of females they sell each year depends on market conditions and the overall cattle cycle.
The Davis family's commitment to the local farming industry extends beyond their own operations. They've invested in local businesses, such as the Doerun Peanut Co. and a community bank, which is aimed at providing true community banking to the region.
Bart Davis is also a dedicated advocate for agriculture, serving in various capacities on county, state, and national levels. He is actively involved in organizations such as the County FSA Committee, the Georgia Cotton Commission, and the National Cotton Council.
In terms of sustainability, the Davis Family Farms have adopted various environmentally friendly practices. These include implementing cover crops, habitat creation for wildlife, and moisture meters for precise irrigation management. They've embraced precision agriculture, which constantly monitors and responds to the needs of the soil and crops, optimizing resource use and preserving the environment. Reflecting on his decades in the agricultural industry, Bart Davis emphasized the importance of embracing change and making decisions based on the information available at the time. He believes that faith and hard work are key factors in achieving success in farming.
Jeremy M. Kichler, County Extension Coordinator in Colquitt County, praised Bart Davis as a leader in the local and national agricultural communities. Davis's dedication to the environment and his cooperative efforts with Extension have positively impacted growers in the region.
A panel of distinguished judges, including David Wildy, Joe West, and Darren Parker, will visit Bart Davis and the other state finalists during the week of August 14–18. The award recognizes Bart Davis's exceptional contributions to farming and his unwavering commitment to the industry.
For more information on the Sunbelt Ag Expo click the quick link below.
QUICK LINK: https://sunbeltexpo.com
Interview & Information Courtesy Sunbelt Ag Expo News Release