Brad and Molly Judson of West Point, Miss., were among four national winners at the 61st annual National Outstanding Young Farmers Awards Congress at Greenville, S.C.
They were selected from a group of 10 finalists, based on their progress in an agricultural career, extent of soil and water conservation practices, and contributions to the well-being of the community, state, and nation.
The National Outstanding Young Farmer program is the oldest farmer recognition program in the U.S., selecting its first group of national winners in 1955. The program is sponsored by John Deere, administered by the Outstanding Farmers of America, and supported by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents and the U.S. Jaycees.
“In an era when the average age of the U.S. farmer is pushing 60 years, it’s inspiring to see young farmers like Brad and Molly getting a foothold in the business and becoming successful,” says Charlie Stokes, Mississippi State University Extension area agronomy agent at Aberdeen, Miss., who nominated Brad for the award.
Guest Master of Ceremonies, Orion Samuelson, WGN Radio and “This Week in AgriBusiness” anchor on RFD-TV, announced the four national winners and interviewed them for his show that will air in coming weeks.
The three other national winners for 2017 are from Georgia, Illinois, and Wisconsin. National winners received a savings bond from corporate sponsor John Deere and the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., during National Ag Week in 2018.
Brad and Molly Judson with their National Young Farmer award.
Brad worked for a local row crop farmer through high school and college, and when he graduated from Mississippi State with a degree in agribusiness he started his own farm from the ground up. While his acreage has changed through the years, his devotion to farming has not. He now produces cotton, corn, soybeans, and wheat on 3,000 acres in Clay, Monroe, and Lowndes counties in east central Mississippi. He prioritizes conservation and community involvement; he has served on the county Soil and Water Conservation Board for 10 years, and he carries out many soil and water resource management techniques on his farms. He has been involved in the Environmental Quality Improvement Program to help control erosion and water quality.
Although his wife, Molly, holds a degree in elementary education, she values her role as a full-time farm wife, considering her top priority raising their two children, Hamp and Howie.
Brad serves on the Farm Bureau board and is a trustee for their church. He is a founding member and serves on the board of directors of the Bogue Chitto cotton gin. Molly is active in garden club, youth sports, and is a Sunday School teacher and president of the Parent-Teacher Organization. They were named the CHS Farm Family of the Year for Mississippi ins 2014.