cattle and hogs during the first 25 years that he farmed. But, a
disease decimated his hog herd in 1992, and with pork prices low,
he decided to eliminate swine as a farm enterprise.
“I used to grow tobacco,” he says, “but I haven’t had any since
the tobacco quota buyout.” Federal price supports and the
tobacco quota program ended in 2004. “I would grow tobacco
again if I was a young farmer and I could get a contract,” he says.
He decided to increase his plantings of cotton and peanuts to help
make up for the income that had been provided by tobacco.
“Technology on the farm is changing fast,” he says. “What’s here
today is gone tomorrow. One day in the future, we’ll probably add
a smart box to our planter that will automatically dispense seed
and chemicals in the proper amounts.
“We set goals for our farm and for individual crops, and we try
to make small improvements each year to maintain a sustainable
farm,” McCormick says.
As a young man, he served in the Georgia Air National
Guard. He has been a member of the Bulloch County Livestock
Association and Statesboro Kiwanis, has been a 4-H leader and
volunteer, and while living in Bulloch County, he served on a
school zoning committee and an agriculture advisory committee.
In Screven County, he is on the local Extension agricultural
advisory board. When he grew tobacco, he served on the Georgia
Tobacco Commodity Commission and hosted an Extension
tobacco tour stop on his farm.
He and his wife, Paula, have been active in Brooklet United
Methodist Church. Paula works as an assistant principal at an
elementary school in Effingham County, Ga., and is concluding
her 34th year as a professional educator. She has been recognized
for her excellence in teaching math and science, and was named
Teacher of the Year for Guyton Elementary School in 2010. She
has also been a longtime member of the Professional Association
of Georgia Educators and the Beta Sigma Phi social and service
FAMILY INVOLVEMEN T
While on the farm, Paula has performed a number of tasks such
as scouting cotton, managing a farrowing house, and supervising
tobacco field workers. She also enjoys hunting.
The McCormicks have four sons and six grandchildren. One
son, Josh, has returned to work on the farm, and this is his second
year of farming full-time with his dad. Their son, John, is the oldest
and is a surgeon. Sons Jason and Gus are project managers for
Mark McCann with the University of Georgia Cooperative
Extension Service coordinates the Farmer of the Year award
in the state. Ray Hicks, Extension agent in Screven County,
Ga., nominated McCormick for the award. Hicks, who first met
McCormick when McCormick was raising livestock in Bulloch
County, Ga., says he admires how McCormick has been able to use
variable rate irrigation, global positioning system guidance, and
conservation tillage to improve his farming. He also notes that
McCormick was one of the first farmers to test the Irrigator Pro
peanut irrigation scheduling method that was developed by the
USDA-Agricultural Research Service.
McCormick says, “Being a farmer has been a blessing, and from
it I have learned responsibility and leadership.”
As the Georgia state winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt
Expo award, he will receive a $2,500 cash award and an expense
paid trip to the Sunbelt Expo from Swisher International of
Jacksonville, Fla., a $500 gift certificate from the Southern States
cooperative, and a Columbia vest from Ivey’s Outdoor and Farm
He is now eligible for the $15,000 cash award that will go to
the overall winner. Other prizes for the overall winner include the
use of a Massey Ferguson tractor for a year from Massey Ferguson
North America, another $500 gift certificate from the Southern
States cooperative, a Columbia jacket from Ivey’s Outdoor and
Farm Supply, and a smoker-grill from Hays LTI.
Swisher International, through its Swisher Sweets cigar brand,
and the Sunbelt Expo are sponsoring the Southeastern Farmer
of the Year awards for the 27th consecutive year. Swisher has
contributed some $1.04 million in cash awards and other honors
to southeastern farmers since the award was initiated in 1990.
Previous state winners from Georgia include Timothy McMillan
of Enigma, 1990; Bud Butcher of Senoia, 1991; James Lee Adams
of Camilla, 1992; John Morgan of Mystic, 1993; Alan Verner of
Rutledge, 1994; Donnie Smith of Willacoochee, 1995; Armond
Morris of Ocilla, 1996; Thomas Coleman, Jr. of Hartsfield, 1997;
Glenn Heard of Bainbridge, 1998; Bob McLendon of Leary, 1999;
James Lee Adams of Camilla, 2000; Daniel Johnson of Alma, 2001.
Armond Morris of Ocilla, 2002; Jim Donaldson of Metter, 2003;
Joe Boddiford of Sylvania, 2004; Jimmy Webb of Leary, 2005;
Gary Paulk of Wray, 2006; Daniel Johnson of Alma, 2007; Wayne
McKinnon of Douglas, 2008; Bill Brim of Tifton, 2009; Robert
Dasher of Glenville, 2010; Carlos Vickers of Nashville, 2011; Barry
Martin of Hawkinsville, 2012; Will Harris of Bluffton, 2013; Philip
Grimes of Tifton, 2014; and James Lyles of Ringgold, 2015.
Georgia has had four overall winners: James Lee Adams of
Camilla in 2000, Armond Morris of Ocilla in 2002, Robert Dasher of
Glennville in 2010, and Philip Grimes of Tifton, 2014.
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