The Georgia Peanut Commission presented the Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award to Randy Branch of Baxley, Ga., during the Georgia Peanut Farm Show, Jan. 16, 2014, at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center.
The award is presented to one Georgia peanut farmer based upon the applicant’s overall farm operation; environmental and stewardship practices; and leadership and community service activities. This year’s winner demonstrates volunteerism and service to agriculture in his area. Branch developed his passion for farming while growing up on a diversified row crop operation including corn, soybeans and wheat. Today, the farming operation consists of 4,000 acres of crops including peanuts, cotton, corn, soybeans and wheat.
On the farm, Branch takes a proactive approach to educate the public as to the practices he implements to preserve the land, soil and water. He educates consumers through farm tours where he showcases the land and soil management, as well as water use management and protection. Branch also uses terraces on highly erodible land; grass waterways to manage water to prevent soil erosion; and buffer strips in designated fields to assist with fertilizer and chemical control. Presently, 25 percent of Branch’s production acreage is irrigated. He tries to make every effort to use surface water ponds for irrigation. At this time half of his irrigation water supply is from ponds.
Branch is also active in the agricultural industry. He is a member of the Georgia Farm Bureau State Commodity Committee for Peanuts, regional director of Staple Cotton Marketing Cooperative and served as the Georgia Young Farmer Association president in 1996. Currently, he is a member of Appling County Young Farmers, Appling County Farm Bureau and chairman of the Appling County Career Technical and Agricultural Education Advisory Committee. He also volunteers with Red Oak Baptist Church, Southern Truck and Tractor Pullers Association, Red Oak Volunteer Fire Department, Appling County Chamber of Commerce, Relay for Life and Fourth District Elementary PTO.
Branch is married to Angie, and they have two children, Shane and Brandon, and a granddaughter, Taylor.