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• As a result of her success as a diversified farmer, Annie Dee has been selected as the Alabama state winner of the 2013 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award.
Active in outreach programs
She has been very active in two outreach programs sponsored by the HGB Foundation, founded by philanthropist Howard G. Buffett. One is called Invest an Acre that encourages farmers to donate the proceeds from one or more acres to benefit regional food banks. Proceeds from her acre are matched by Monsanto and contributed to The Lord’s Pantry. “I have become an ambassador for the program in Alabama, recruiting other farmers to participate,” adds Annie.
The other is called Harvesting the Potential. This HGB Foundation program encourages farmers to use conservation practices such as no-till planting which can lead to higher yields that can help in feeding hungry people. “My commitment is to freely share my experiences with other farmers,” she adds.
Annie is married to Ed Sikora, a professor and Extension plant pathologist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. He has been widely recognized for his work in detecting and controlling plant diseases such as soybean rust.
Her twin sons Seth More and Jesse More are both active in helping to run the farm. She also has a daughter Rachel More who lives in Florida and works at an independent living facility.
As president of Dee River Ranch, Annie supervises 18 full-time employees. “We produce good quality food for people all around the world,” she says. “So many challenges face us every day. There is such enjoyment in seeing things grow, and it is so rewarding to realize we are caring for God’s creation.”
Jeff Helms with the Alabama Farmers Federation is the state coordinator for the Farmer of the Year awards. Annie was nominated for the award by Matthew Durdin, area organizational director with the Alabama Farmers Federation. “I’ve known Annie and Mike for 10 years,” says Durdin. “They have gone above and beyond what is normally expected of farmers. They are true stewards of the land.”
As the Alabama state winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo award, Dee will now 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, the choice of either $1,000 in PhytoGen cottonseed or a $500 donation to a designated charity from Dow AgroSciences, and a Columbia vest from Ivey’s Outdoor and Farm Supply.
She is now eligible for the $15,000 cash prize 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, a Heritage gun safe and another $500 gift certificate from Southern States, the choice of another $1,000 in PhytoGen cottonseed or a second $500 donation to a designated charity from Dow AgroSciences, and a Columbia jacket from Ivey’s Outdoor and Farm Supply.
Swisher International, through its Swisher Sweets cigar brand, and the Sunbelt Expo are sponsoring the Southeastern Farmer of the Year awards for the 24th consecutive year. Swisher has contributed some $924,000 in cash awards and other honors to southeastern farmers since the award was initiated in 1990.