Ward Family Selected as Outstanding Farm Family of the Year

Published on October 28, 2014 with No Comments

Farm TourOn Thursday, Sept. 18, during the 48th Annual Santa Rosa County Farm Tour, the Ward family was selected as the “Outstanding Farm Family of the Year.” Jimmy Ward and his wife Angela accepted the award from County Commissioners Don Salter and Bob Cole. In addition, Tiffany Bates, district representative for Congressman Jeff Miller, presented the family with a Congressional Record proclamation honoring them for their accomplishments. Mary Beth Barrows, special assistant for Senator Marco Rubio, also presented commendations to the family.

The Wards have a rich agricultural heritage and have been a part of the Allentown community for almost 100 years. In 1917, James B. Ward settled his family and began farming along what is now Hwy. 89. By the late 1950s four of his six sons; Joel, James, Lamar, and Charles were expanding the family farming tradition and grew corn, cotton, peanuts, soybeans, various grains, abundant vegetables, and raised cattle until the early 1990s. The Ward brothers passed on a legacy of hard work, integrity, and generosity to the next generation of family farmers. Jimmy Ward, son of Lamar Ward, is the third generation of Wards farming in Allentown.

Jimmy learned a lot about farming while working with his dad and uncles and continues to farm most of the family’s land. Jimmy and his wife Angela have established their home and raised their three sons on the same land his father and grandfather farmed and raised their families. Family and community have always been important at Ward Farms. Jimmy’s three sons, Jamie, Justin, and Dustin as well as other family and friends in the community are still part of Ward Farms today. It is a great honor to have the Ward family represent Santa Rosa County agriculture in 2014.

In addition to the Ward family, Dr. Barry Brecke, UF/IFAS WFREC Professor Emeritus, and Janis Simmons, extension office secretary, were recognized for their dedicated service to the farm community.

Around 200 local officials and area citizens participated in the 48th Annual Santa Rosa County Farm Tour. During the daylong tour they learned firsthand about agriculture and its importance to the local economy. This year’s tour highlighted our county’s important peanut industry where participants saw how peanuts are grown, harvested and delivered for processing. Stops on the tour included the Roy Ward Farm, the UF/IFAS Jay Research Farm, Chumuckla’s Living Truth Church for lunch and presentations, the Mickey Diamond Farm, Golden Peanut Company and Holland Farms.

Farm TourThe Farm Tour is organized each year by the Santa Rosa Farm Tour Committee, comprised of representatives from various agricultural support agencies in the county. The tour would not be possible without the help of numerous supporters and corporate sponsors.

The Farm Tour Committee would like to thank area businesses for helping sponsor the tour and making it a huge success. Our gold sponsors this year were:  Farm Bureau Insurance Services, Farm Credit of Northwest Florida, Floyd Crop Insurance, Johnson Ford, McKenzie Buick GMC, Three Rivers RC&D Council, and United Bank. Other sponsors included: Birdsong Peanuts, Burkhead Gin Company, Coastal Machinery, Crop Production Services, Downs Paint and Body Shop, Escambia River Electric Coop, Golden Gin & Warehouse, Griswold Peanut Company, Gulf Power Company, Jay Area Chamber of Commerce, Jay Peanut Farmers Coop, John L. Burkhead Inc., Lowry Farms, Publix, Resource Management Services, Santa Rosa County Farm Bureau, T.R. Miller Mill Company, and Taminco.

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