Wyant suffered severe financial losses from both incidents, yet
was able to bounce back by dipping into savings to cover his
Saving money is a priority. He saved a considerable amount on
expenses by using his own labor to build a large equipment shop.
He has also built grain bins and sheds to store his straw. He and
his sons even built a home for one of his sons.
Wyant has provided distinguished service in farm organizations
and to his community. He was active in Jaycees and the local
volunteer fire department, and was a member of the Lincoln
County Planning Board. He has been recognized for his soil and
water conservation and as an Extension volunteer. He served as
Vice President of the N.C. Agricultural Foundation.
Since 1974, he has served as Lincoln County Farm Bureau
President, and he serves on the board and as Vice President
of North Carolina Farm Bureau. He has held a variety of
other volunteer positions with local and state Farm Bureau
organizations, and has traveled widely for lobbying and
educational trips on behalf of Farm Bureau. For American Farm
Bureau, he has served on national committees and as a voting
delegate at annual meetings. One of his recent trips was a trade
mission to China led by North Carolina Ag Commissioner Steve
COMMUNIT Y INVOLVEMEN T
Jerry and his wife, Linda, are both active lifetime members of
Daniels Lutheran Church at Lincolnton, N.C. Linda is a retired
elementary school teacher, and has since become a school
volunteer. She has helped to teach agriculture to elementary
students in Lincoln County. She also chairs the Lincoln County
Farm Bureau Women’s Committee, and helped to host a farm
safety day on their farm. On the state level, she has been active
in the North Carolina Farm Bureau Women’s Committee, and has
attended a number of American Farm Bureau conventions and
Linda learned hard work growing up on a dairy farm. She
keeps busy maintaining the land around their home and
farmstead, and drives the lead vehicle whenever farm equipment
needs to be moved on busy highways.
Jerry and Linda have three adult children — twins Tommy
and Susan, and their youngest, son David. Susan, who lives in
Greenville, N.C., and works as a bank executive, is a certified public
accountant and helps on the farm by handling the bookkeeping.
Both Tommy and David work full time on the farm.
Audrey Brown, director of field services with North Carolina
Farm Bureau, coordinates the Farmer of the Year award in
the state. Wyant was nominated for the honor by Luke Beam,
North Carolina Farm Bureau field representative. Beam says he
admires Wyant’s mechanized straw handling. “Jerry’s operation
is set apart,” says Beam. “He is a God-dependent, self-sufficient,
environment-enhancing individual who speaks out for
As the North Carolina state winner of the Swisher Sweets/
Sunbelt Expo award, Wyant receives 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
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 $1.04 million in cash awards and other honors to
southeastern farmers since the award was initiated in 1990.
Previous state winners from North Carolina include John
Vollmer of Bunn, 1990; Kenneth Jones of Pink Hill, 1991; John
Howard, Jr. of Deep Run, 1992; Carlyle Ferguson of Waynesville,
1993; Dick Tunnell of Swan Quarter, 1994; Allan Lee Baucom
of Monroe, 1995; Scott Whitford of Grantsboro, 1996; Williams
Covington, Sr. of Mebane, 1997; Phil McLain of Statesville, 1998;
Earl Hendrix of Raeford, 1999; Reid Gray of Statesville, 2000; Rusty
Cox of Monroe, 2001.
Craven Register of Clinton, 2002; Frank Howey, Jr. of Monroe,
2003; Eddie Johnson of Elkin, 2004; Danny McConnell of
Hendersonville, 2005; Thomas Porter, Jr. of Concord, 2006; Bill
Cameron of Raeford, 2007; V. Mac Baldwin of Yanceyville, 2008;
Fred Pittillo of Hendersonville, 2009; Bo Stone of Rowland,
2010; Thomas Porter, Jr. of Concord, 2011; Gary Blake of North
Wilkesboro, 2012; Wilbur Earp of Winnabow, 2013; Frank Howey,
Jr., of Monroe, 2014; and Danny Kornegay of Princeton, 2015.
North Carolina has had four overall winners: Eddie Johnson of
Elkin in 2004, Bill Cameron of Raeford in 2007, Thomas Porter, Jr.
of Concord in 2011, and Danny Kornegay of Princeton in 2015.
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