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Third-generation Bulloch Fertilizer family member named Ag Partner of Year 2022
Jon Marsh Anderson saluted at Farm City Week luncheon
Bulloch Fertilizer Operations Manager Jon Marsh Anderson, right, shoots a glance at dad Mike as he is named AG Partner of the Year during the Statesboro Bulloch Chamber's Farm City Week Luncheon at the Bulloch County Agricultural Complex on Tuesday, Nov.
Bulloch Fertilizer Operations Manager Jon Marsh Anderson, right, shoots a glance at dad Mike as he is named AG Partner of the Year during the Statesboro Bulloch Chamber's Farm City Week Luncheon at the Bulloch County Agricultural Complex on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

Jon Marsh Anderson, operations manager at Bulloch Fertilizer, said he was completely surprised, and looked it, when called forward to receive the Ag Partner of the Year Award during the Farm City Week luncheon hosted by the Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce.

About 150 people attended the event Tuesday under the arena roof at the Bulloch County Agricultural Complex. Each year the luncheon features a keynote speaker and the presentation of one of two rotating biennial awards. In 2021 a Farmer of the Year was honored, so this year the award was for an Ag Partner of the Year from a nonfarm business, agency or organization that supports agriculture.

Lisa Hodges, from Morris Bank, chaired the chamber’s Agriculture Committee this year and presented the award.

“This year’s recipient comes from a family business that began their operation in 1963, decades before he was even born,” Hodges noted. “He was raised with a passion to continue offering the best service in the industry by following in the footsteps of his grandfather, …, and father, …. He is a great role mode to our younger generation. He’s dependable, knowledgeable, professional and a true Southern gentleman.”

When she then named Anderson, 24, as the 2022 Ag Partner of the Year, he walked onto the stage with a smile and said he was “surprised, humbled,” and thanked everyone for the award.

“Humbled, excited, and felt like I don’t deserve it, but proud,” Anderson said when asked afterward how he had felt, and agreed, saying “absolutely,” that it gives him something to live up to. 

He is a 2016 graduate of Bulloch Academy and a 2020 graduate of Georgia Southern University, where he attained a bachelor’s degree in logistics and supply chain management and business management.

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Bulloch Fertilizer Operations Manager Jon Marsh Anderson, right, is congratulated by Statesboro Bulloch Chamber Executive Director Jennifer Lewis as he is named AG Partner of the Year during the Chamber's Farm City Week Luncheon at the Bulloch County Agricultural Complex on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

“I think my official role is operations manager, but I’ve taken on more of an administrative role of helping Dad with some bigger decisions,” Anderson said. “Hopefully I can continue in that role and help out the family and transition into taking over Bulloch Fertilizer one day.”

 

Three generations

His grandfather, Raybon Anderson, founded Bulloch Fertilizer in 1963, at first along with two partners whose shares in the business he later purchased. Later, he served as a Bulloch County commissioner and on the boards of both the state Department of Natural Resources and Department of Transportation. Raybon Anderson has also been a member and chair of the Georgia Agribusiness Council.

The founder’s son Mike Anderson had returned to the family business when they opened Anderson’s General Store in 2005. Mike is now president of Bulloch Fertilizer, of which Anderson’s general store is a division. He and his wife, Vicki Marsh Anderson, have four sons, the oldest of whom is also named Raybon, while Jon Marsh Anderson is second oldest and the younger two are Lawson and Olen.

In fact, while Jon Marsh serves in the role he described at the main Bulloch Fertilizer plant on West Main Street, his brother Lawson, 22, works full-time as a manager across town at Anderson’s General Store on Highway 80 East.

Jon Marsh Anderson also started out helping at the general store as a child in middle school. “Small stuff like restocking shelves, that was my introduction to the family business,” he said. Then he started working at the fertilizer plant at age 16.

The Ag Partner Award recipient’s mother had “sneaked” into the luncheon so as not to spoil the surprise, she said. So had his fiancée, Lauren Cook, also a Georgia Southern graduate and now a teacher at Bulloch Academy. They have a wedding date set for next October.

 

Featured speaker

Keynote speaker at the Farm City Week luncheon was Timothy Miller, advocacy and membership director for the Georgia Forestry Association, an independent, industry advocacy group not to be confused with a similar-named state agency.

The GFA touts Georgia as “the number-one forestry state in the nation,” and Miller pointed out some ways this is true. Georgia is the leading state in tree seedling production and in exports of lumber and wood pellets, for example.

Forestry has a $39 billion annual economic impact and is responsible for about 140,000 jobs in the state, he said.

He described some of the association’s lobbying efforts on limiting taxes, including one approved by a majority of Georgia voters as Referendum A on the Nov. 8 ballot. It exempts equipment used for timber harvesting or production from property taxes. Next, the GFA will seek to reduce the tax assessed on the value of timber at harvest from local millage rates multiplied by 100% of the timber’s value to a 40% basis like that used for annual taxes on land, he said.

As Miller went on to talk about the GFA’s interest in protecting property rights and preserving land for forestry, some of his remarks echoed local concerns in an area where manufacturing and residential development are displacing some farmland.

“I want to really focus in on three categories that this state is changing in, three challenges that we have to address, and those three are population, land use and politics, and they all go together,” Miller said.

 

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