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Two local farmers honored with Stewardship Award at Soil and Water Conservation District Dinner

By Cindy Jo Ayers

Family, friends and Gilchrist Soil and Water Conservation District directors attended the Annual Stewardship Awards Dinner on Tuesday, May 16.

This year Jack Cook presented the Stewardship plaque to longtime area farmer Barney Faircloth. Cook reminisced about Faircloth’s early days as a rodeo cowboy and how he participated in rodeos all over the country and made money at it.

Faircloth said, “I often drove home from out of state to plant watermelons, then turned right around and drove right back to make a rodeo by the weekend.

Cook said that Faircloth’s family worked to support his operation and help make his farm a success.

Kelly Philman presented the Conservation Stewardship Award to the second recipient of the evening Randall Roberts. Philman said that as a young farmer he learned a lot from watching how Roberts ran his farm. He noticed how Roberts  took care of his equipment and how organized Roberts was with the farming operation. Philman went on to say Roberts was one of the first in the area to use the no till method and twin row planting.

Brett Crawford recognized all the former Conservation Stewardship Award winners for the past ten years. Past recipients were L.R. Thomas Farms and Family 2006, Larry Langford 2007, Diamond 99 Inc. 2008, Jerry Wright 2009, David Mikell 2010, Jackie Langford 2011, Roy Langford 2012, William Roberts 2013, William “Bo” Douberly 2014, Frank Colson 2015, Clyde Townsend 2016, and Jim Jones 2016.

Those attending also heard a short presentation from Barton Wilder from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service, Kesha Harvey of the National Resource Conservation Service, Joe Mackenzie the Gilchrist/Levy County Forester and Hugh Thomas of the Suwannee River Water Management District.

The dinner was followed by the regular meeting of the Gilchrist County Soil and Water Conservation District Board. The members of the board are Chairman Jack Cook, Tommy Jones, Don Bennink, Kelly Philman and Brett Crawford.