“I’m a third generation farmer,” he says. “I remember telling my father all I wanted for my sixth birthday was to drive a tractor. He granted my wish and I quickly became one of his employees.” At age seven, he started milking cows owned by his grandmother. He did this until he was 17.

He is a former board member of the Martin County Agricultural Landowners, Inc. He is active in Martin County Florida Farm Bureau and the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association. He is an active member of First United Methodist Church of Stuart. He has served consecutive terms and as chairman and vice chairman for the local USDA Farm Service Agency committee. He has taken part in mission trips to Cuba and to Mozambique. He also took an agricultural consulting trip to Nicaragua.

Long is a strong supporter of Christians Reaching Out to Society (C.R.O.S.) Ministries to benefit food banks.  He typically donates more than 100,000 pounds of food each year for these charitable projects.

John Scott and and his wife Janet have four children, Stephanie, Rebekah, Anna and James. Janet also works on the farm. Through First United Methodist Church of Stuart, she has supervised youth mission trips and accompanied her husband on the Mozambique mission trip. She is also active in Women of Faith.

His mother, Julia Long, comes down from her home in Virginia during the potato season to handle shipping. “It has been a blessing to have my mother here,” he says. “This has given my children the chance to get to know their grandmother.”

His farm manager, Joe Black, is a friend and former schoolmate. “We went to school together in the first through the twelfth grades,” says Long.

“I take very little credit for anything I’ve managed to achieve in life,” says Long. “A great team of employees — past and present — helped us get here. But truly, the Lord deserves the credit. He has blessed me and my family abundantly, and He gets the praise.”

Joshua Craft, director of the Field Services Division at Florida Farm Bureau, is the state coordinator of the Farmer of the Year awards. Long was nominated for the award by Tom Hill, assistant director of field services with Florida Farm Bureau.

“John has been on the Martin County Farm Bureau board for more than 10 years,” says Hill. “His fellow board members recommended him for this award for all he has done for the farming industry and for his community.”

As the Florida state winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo award, Long 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.