Live Oak —
Honorees, family, friends and state and local elected officials packed the banquet hall of the Live Oak Church of God on Tuesday night for the Suwannee County Conservation District 69th Annual Awards Program.
The Starling Family Farms received the honor of being Suwannee County Conservation District Farm Family of the Year for their implementation of best management practices on their nearly 400 acre farm, plus an additional 700 acres of leased land.
Florida Commission of Agriculture Adam Putnam was the guest speaker for the evening.
“Water is the biggest long-term issue facing Florida. Whether you’re interested in expanding your farm, building a subdivision or saving the Everglades. That decision will be dictated by water in our state,” said Putnam. “And the biggest losers, and the first losers in a water war will be farmers and ranchers.”
He said that new innovations in agriculture saved a billion gallons of water in the state last year.
There were many other groups and people recognized at the dinner.
John-Walt Boatright and Adrienne Boyette received the 2011-12 W.B. “Bernie” Copeland Conservation Scholarship.
Suwannee Middle School Future Farmers of America member Terrah Henderson was the SCCD speech contest winner. She said there could be a middle ground where food is grown for both food and fuels. Suwannee High School FFA member Caleb Land was honored for his second place finish in the speech contest.
SCCD also recognized the first and second place winners for their poster contest. From Suwannee Primary School, Jessica Martinez won first and Grace Williams had second place in kindergarten through first grade. Suwannee Elementary students Jack Fry and Ariona Thomas won first and second place, respectively, in the second through third grade division. Sarabeth Lee and Willow Lucas, from Suwannee Intermediate School, won first and second, respectively, in the fourth through sixth grade division. In the seventh through ninth grade division SMS students Savannah Weaver won first and Alyssa Manning won second place. Branford High School students Amy Jo Bradow and Deesa Patel won first and second in the 10th through 12th grade division.
SHS and SMS received their awards for the land judging contest on Feb. 28.
SCCD had educator appreciation as well. Vaster Fryar and Stacy Young from BHS, Marvette Gwinn from SPS, Tracy Henderson and Lesley Fry from SES, Natalie Haney and Rhoshonda Herring from SIS, Ann Etcher and Melissa Cameron from SMS, and Tammy Boggus, Travis Tuten and Boyette from SHS all received Educator Appreciation plaques from SCCD.
The Suwannee FFA Chapter was also recognized by Brian Cobble, Suwannee County Forester, for its Forest Stewardship Certification.