Deal, Commissioner Black kick off National Agriculture Week

March 13, 2012

Governor announces winners of Environmental Stewardship Awards and the Flavor of Georgia contest

Gov. Nathan Deal and Commissioner Gary Black today kicked off National Agriculture Week by announcing the winners of the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for Agriculture and the Flavor of Georgia contests.

“The prominence of Agriculture in our state’s economy – it’s our No. 1 industry – is a competitive advantage,” said Deal. “I believe our strategic assets in this area provide us with real opportunities.”

At today’s event, Deal and Black announced the state winner and regional winners of the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for Agriculture. This award is given to exceptional agricultural producers throughout the state who are not only outstanding farmers, but also leaders in environmental stewardship. The state winner, Chris Hopkins, has owned Hopkins Farm in Lyons for seven years. Hopkins and his wife, Marilynn, started their operation from scratch and now manage their 600 acres of land by implementing a number of high-tech conservation and irrigation techniques. 

Regional winners were:

Region 1: James Burton of James P. Burton Farm in LaFayette

Region 2: Dr. Carl Jordan of Spring Valley EcoFarms in Athens

Region 3: Glenn Waller of Waller Farm in Harrison

Region 4: Adam Graft of Leatherbrook Holsteins, LLC in Americus

Region 5: Chris Hopkins of Hopkins Farm in Lyons

These winners have all developed and currently implement environmentally friendly farming practices that will preserve land for future generations.

Flavor of Georgia contest winners were also announced at today’s event. Capturing the grand prize this year was Nicki Schroder’s Brown Butter Praline Ice Cream. Her Atlanta-based business, High Road Craft Ice Cream, crafts homemade luxury ice cream, gelato and sorbet for resale at restaurants, hotels and resorts and independent retailers.

This year’s category winners were:

Barbecue and hot sauces: Griffin and Natalie Bufkin of Southern Soul Barbeque in St. Simons Island, won with Sweet Georgia Soul Signature BBQ Sauce

Confections: Linda Byne of Byne Blueberries in Waynesboro won with Byne Blueberries Dark Chocolate

Dairy: Nicki Schroder of High Road Craft Ice Cream in Atlanta won with Brown Butter Praline Ice Cream

Jams, jellies and sauces: Laurie Jo Bennett of Lauri Jo’s in Norman Park, won with Lauri Jo’s Muscadine Pepper Jelly

Meat and seafood: Debra McFadden-Bryant of the JelSa Group, Inc. in Albany won with GeeChee Girl Foods Seafood Gumbo

Snack: Diane Pfeifer of Strawberry Patch/Grits Bits in Atlanta won with Gritz Bits Vidalia Onion Bakes Cheese Snacks

Other products: Jake Williams of Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge won with Mercier Orchards Sparkling Apple Cider

People’s Choice: Cindy Fulghum of Three Generations of Georgia in Dewy Rose won with Chicken Log

Flavor of Georgia is sponsored by the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development. This annual contest is a great way to spread to word about Georgia’s specialty foods and support local businesses throughout the state.