When the new director of the South Carolina Soybean Board suggested Dillon, S.C., grower Cullen Bryant compete for the American Soybean Growers Association’s prestigious Conservation Legacy Award, the long-time grower didn’t think much about it.

“I didn’t think I was doing anything special to merit the award. I have a great respect for the land I farm, and I do everything I can to leave it better for the people who follow me. I was just doing what I thought was right,” Bryant says. 

To win the South Region Award and to compete with two other farmers for the national award was totally unexpected, the South Carolina grower adds. 

“I believe in conservation and I want to improve the land for my children and grand-children, but winning the award was a total surprise,” Bryant adds.

The Conservation Legacy Awards Program is a national program designed to recognize outstanding environmental and conservation achievements by U.S. soybean farmers. The award is sponsored by the American Soybean Association, BASF Corporation, Monsanto Corporation and Corn and Soybean Digest, a farm publication of Penton Media.

Selection is based on each farmer’s environmental and economic efforts on their farm.

There are three regional winners, from which a national winner will be chosen and announced at an awards banquet to be held at the Commodity Classic in Nashville, Tenn., in March 2012.                  

Bryant Farms encompasses more than 2,000 acres and is spread around Dillon County, which is located near the North Carolina border and less than 100 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. 

Part of the farm has been in the Bryant family for several generations, and the South Carolina grower says most everything he does on the farm is geared toward making the land better than it was when he started farming in 1985.

Bryant was Chairman of the South Carolina Soybean Board when biodiesel was just beginning to show up on farms. “I grow soybeans and I use soy biodiesel in all my farm vehicles — just makes good sense to me,” Bryant says.

He has used any blend from 2 percent soy oil up to 20 percent soy oil for all his farm vehicles. Currently, he uses a 20 percent soy oil blend in all his vehicles.

Sometimes his fuel is a little more expensive and sometimes a little less costly than diesel, though the price of both products has remained very competitive since he’s been using biodiesel.