Ken Barton Family honored as Holmes County Agriculture Innovator

Published: Friday, August 16, 2013 at 03:58 PM.

He is also very active representing the peanut industry across the state with FFA and 4-H at events such as the Florida State Fair.  Ken Barton has been a leader in the peanut industry locally, statewide, and nationally since 2003.  He has worked closely with state and federal legislators in promoting the peanut industry, diligently working to insure the viability of agriculture in our local region and across the state of Florida.  He has also hosted international delegations for tours of the peanut industry working to improve economic opportunities for area farmers. 

From this distinguished pool of 13 farmers, an “Innovator of the Year” was selected to represent Northwest Florida.  This year Stephen and Tracie Fulford, from Jefferson County, were selected as the Farm Credit of Northwest Florida Agriculture Innovator of the Year. 

The Fulford family operates a commercial row crop farm in Jefferson and Madison Counties.  They combine precision farming, sod based crop rotation, and conservation tillage to decrease soil erosion, reduce weed pressure, reduce nematode and disease pressure, and lower fuel use because they make fewer trips across fields.  Steve Fulford has worked closely with UF/IFAS Extension: volunteering for on-farm cotton variety trials and weed control tests, hosting field days, serving on advisory committees, and participating in agriculture awareness programs in Jefferson County. 

They are actively involved in Florida Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Program, which works to share the positive story of agricultural business in Florida.  Stephen  Fulford says, “I cannot sit on the sidelines and expect someone else to speak for me.  I must step out and be a leader.”  Tracie Fulford has a blog, “The Farmer Takes a Wife,” and coordinates the Ag in the Classroom program in Jefferson County.  Stephen Fulford received the Commissioner of Agriculture’s Agricultural Environmental Leadership Award.  Truly the Fulford family is well deserving of this honor because they combine environmental stewardship, technology, and innovation to make Fulford Farms successful.

The purpose of the Agriculture Innovator Recognition Program is to annually recognize innovative farmers and ranchers from 16 Florida Panhandle counties, from Jefferson west to Escambia County.  Bringing these top-notch farmers together to meet each other will foster further innovation.  Highlighting these creative and successful farmers will also help increase public awareness of the diversity and innovation of today’s modern agriculture. 

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