Resilience, resurgence, RAIN… was the theme for this year’s Farm City Banquet that was held Tuesday evening. Farm City Week activities started on Monday with farm tours with tractor driving, cotton farm tours, cotton gin tours, and wheat farm tours. A dam tour was also held on Tuesday, and a tour and incentive flight was held today at Altus Air Force Base.
Altus Chamber of Commerce President Brian Bush said, “highlighting the importance of agriculture to our economy in Southwest Oklahoma, celebrating what our local producers are accomplishing right here in Altus, and educating our region about the inter-connectivity of our economy is what Farm City Week is all about. Through these efforts, we remind our community that what happens on the farms, what happens at Altus Air Force Base, and what happens in our local businesses is all part of what makes Altus tick.”
Farm City Awards were presented Tuesday at the banquet. The awards recognize the outstanding achievements of persons engaged in farming in our area. There were two categories, the Generations Award, honoring a producer under the age of 40, and the Legends Award, honoring a producer over the age of 40. The top candidates are nominated by local banking institutions involved in agriculture lending as well as agriculture related businesses. The winners were chosen by an independent panel from the nominations received.
Winning the Farm City Generations Award was Justin Abernathy.Justin is supported and motivated by his wife Amy and their children Kason, Kenzie, and Kreed. Justin began farming as a teenager helping his dad and grandfather on the family farm. When he returned from OSU, he continued to be involved in the family business as well as beginning his own farming operation. Just has proven himself, at a very early age, to be an energetic, honest, hard working operator and a devoted family man.
Also nominated was Brandon Bush. Brandon and his wife Emily have two daughters, Brynn and Everly. Brandon comes from a long time agriculture family in Jackson County. His family has been farming for several generations, and Brandon has chosen to carry on the tradition of raising crops and livestock. He is considered to be reputable among his peers and is considered to be an up and coming leader inside and outside of the agriculture community of Jackson County.
The Farm City Legends Award was won by Joe Kelly. Joe is married to Kristin Kelly and has eight children ranging from ages 22 to 45. Joe has a diversified farming operation with cotton, wheat, milo, alfalfa, and cattle. Joe began working for farmers in 1966 on a part-time basis while stationed at Altus Air Force Base. After serving our great country, he was able to start and build a very successful farming operation. He is a true advocate for agriculture and has represented the industry very well at state and local levels.
Also nominated was Michael Dishman. Mike and Diane Dishman have two children, Derrick and Chris, and Mike has been involved in farming for over 50 years, mostly in the areas of cattle and wheat. Mike has one of the largest cattle operations in Jackson County. He handles his business in an outstanding manner and is a valued citizen of southwest Oklahoma. Mike believes in and supports the youth of Jackson County and has assisted with the Jackson County Junior Livestock Show for several years.
The Altus Air Force Base Honor Guard presented the colors for the banquet, the National Anthem was presented by Blake Pewo, and Rollann Horschler welcomed the crowd.
Col. Todd A. Hohn, Commander of the 97th Air Mobility Wing, gave the opening remarks before the dinner was served.
John D. Butchee introduced speech contest winners Luke Miller and Michaella Reed. Both students received cash prizes for the radio station for winning their speech divisions. Presenting the awards was Trudy Calvillo.
Jennie Buchanan gave the final presentation.
Reach Michael Bush at email@example.com