Statesboro family wins "Farm Family of the Year" - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Statesboro family wins "Farm Family of the Year"

Debra and Al Clark Debra and Al Clark

By Dal Cannady - bio | email

STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - A big honor Friday in Statesboro. The community recognized the Bulloch County Farm Family of the Year.

Organizers say agriculture remains their largest industry and they hope the honor reminds others just how important farming is to everyone.

Debra and Al Clark pushed back tears as they recognized themselves in the description of the award winners.

The Clark family was recognized as the 2009 Farm Family of the Year by the Agribusiness committee.

"You look around the room at the other people who've won," said Al Clark. "It's very humbling." 

Audience members heard about the family's innovations in switching from traditional row crops to fruits and vegetables. The Clarks have also blazed the trail in agri-tourism.

"We've been doing that since 2001 and it's important," said Al. "There's many, many kids that the only time they see a farm is when they come to ours." 

Those innovations will help some farmers survive says Georgia's deputy agriculture commissioner Terry Coleman. He told the group specialty crops may be the future.

"We're growing grapes, the wind industry has 18 wineries in the state. We see specialty dairies like Flat Creek Lodge where they make their own milk, process it for their own milk, butter, cheese," said Coleman.

"If you're farming these days, you're among the smartest people if you're surviving so it's important to honor these people," said Peggy Chapman with the Chamber of Commerce.

The Statesboro/Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce and its agribusiness committee have sponsored the award for more than 20 years.

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