At only 14 years of age, Grant Norwood’s role on his family’s farm changed drastically. “That summer, my brother was injured in a car accident and was in the hospital for three months,” says Norwood.

“With my parents gone, I had to take on new responsibilities. It was a wonderful education and learning experience. I continued working on the farm through high school and college. When I graduated from college, I was given the opportunity to work full time on our family farm.”

Norwood now directs a massive 2,540 acre operation (up from his original 1,500 acres) and has been selected as the 2007 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year for Tennessee. He was selected for the honor in judging conducted by the University of Tennessee Extension Service and nominated by Ken Goddard.

In his 13 years of farming, row crops have always been Norwood’s focal point.

Food-grade white corn is grown on 1,152 acres with a yield of 148 bushels per acre while there are also 248 acres of yellow corn with a 155-bushel per acre yield.

Soybeans also play an important role with 1,205 acres producing 41 bushels per acre. Wheat is grown on 200 acres and wheat straw covers 100 acres with an 85-bale per-acre yield.

“The white corn is carried to an end user where it is milled into food products,” says Norwood. “Selling products to an end user always means bigger premiums. We also raise edible soybeans that are sold to a local grain cleaner. The farm receives a substantial premium on the edible soybeans that are produced.”

Previous state winners from Tennessee include: James R. Graham of Newport, 1990; Burl Ottinger of Parrottsville, 1991; Dwaine Peters of Madisonville, 1992; Edward Wilson of Cleveland, 1993; Bob Willis of Hillsboro, 1994; Bobby W. Vannatta of Bell Buckle, 1995; George McDonald of Riddleton, 1996; Jimmy Gaylord of Sharon, 1997; Jimmy Tosh of Henry, 1998; Eugene Pugh, Jr. of Halls, 1999; Harris Armour of Somerville, 2000; Malcolm Burchfiel of Newbern, 2001; Ed Rollins of Pulaski, 2002; John Smith of Puryear, 2003; Austin Anderson of Manchester, 2004; John Litz of Morristown, 2005; and Bob Willis of Hillsboro, 2006.

Tennessee has had two overall winners with Jimmy Tosh of Henry in 1998 and Bob Willis of Hillsboro in 2006.