Jim Bone of Valdosta, Ga., has been selected to his first three-year term as a member of the judging team for the 2009 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year Award.

Bone, who currently serves as Manager of Field Development USA for DuPont Crop Protection, will join James Lee Adams of Camilla, Ga., and Elwyn Deal of Anderson, S.C., in determining the winner of the most prestigious award in agriculture.

The Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, salutes outstanding agriculture achievements in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Swisher International of Jacksonville, Fla., and the Sunbelt Expo Ag Expo of Moultrie, Ga., have sponsored the award since its inception in 1990.

“I’m very pleased to be a part of anything that provides an opportunity to lift up and recognize agriculture as a business venture, critical national resource and center for fostering family values,” said Bone. “I believe it is essential that we who have known the benefit of agriculture in our lives take every opportunity to participate in its promotion as a growth opportunity for generations to come.”

Bone received his Bachelor of Science degree in Range Management from Texas A&M University. Before joining DuPont, his career has included Field Development positions with Chipman Chemical Company, Rhodia US and ICI Americas. He also served as vice-president of research and development / regulatory affairs and vice-president sales & marketing for Griffin LLC.

“Jim will be a tremendous asset to the Farmer of the Year award program,” said J. Thomas Ryan, president of Swisher International. “Judges with Jim’s background and insight into the importance of agriculture in today’s society bring added credibility to the program.”

Final judging for the 2009 award will be in August with the Southeastern Farmer of the Year being announced during the Sunbelt Expo on Tuesday. Oct. 20, at the Willie B. Withers Sunbelt Expo Luncheon.

Brian Kirksey, a hard-working, fourth generation farmer from Amity, Ark., was chosen as the 2008 Southeastern Farmer of the Year, the first overall winner from Arkansas.