Bulloch County’s Lehman Brannen appeared to be humbled Friday as he was announced as the 2019 Farmer of the Year during the Farm City Week luncheon, sponsored by the Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce agribusiness committee.
The announcement followed a short introductory video, preceded by a “virtual farm tour” featuring several local farmers. The luncheon was held at the Ogeechee Technical College Natural Resource Building.
Brannen and his wife, Sharon, accompanied by sons Jason and Josh, who farm with their father in Register, went to the stage to accept the award, which included a commemorative sign to be displayed at the farm.
Lehman Brannen “is not much of a public speaker,” Josh Brannen said, so his son spoke instead, sharing how he has always been proud when others praised and complimented his father on being a “good, honest man.”
He recalled how hard his father worked, having been farming for over 50 years. He said he remembered Lehman Brannen talking about the hardships farmers faced during the year 1980, when many farms folded.
“I am proud of him, and he deserves this,” he said.
The chamber’s Andrea Whitfield introduced the program, meant to honor and recognize area farmers and agricultural partners who are a vital part of Bulloch County’s economy. To those people, she said, “You are the reason we do what we do.”
The chamber agribusiness committee once held an annual farm tour that became difficult to orchestrate due to busy schedules. Instead, this year they produced a “virtual farm tour” in which a number of area farmers and agricultural partners discussed raising crops and livestock, operating peanut stations and cotton gins, and providing fertilizer and chemicals, equipment and insurance so farmers can continue growing food and other products that affect everyone’s lives.
Those in the video also spoke of technology and how its growth has affected farming, as well as other challenges farmers face on a daily basis.
The meal was provided by Honey Catering. Centerpieces on the tables, live flowers and greenery, cotton and peanut clusters nestled in handmade wooden boxes, were crafted by the Southeast Bulloch High School FFA members and were presented to farm wives present at the luncheon afterward.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.