Young Farmers compete in leadership contests at summer expo
Two farmers representing agriculture’s future earned statewide accolades July 31 at the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers Summer Expo. Themed Farming on the Edge, the event was held July 30 through Aug. 1 in Fauquier County.
Kyle Sturgis of Northampton County was named this year’s VFBF Young Farmers Excellence in Agriculture Award winner. Jack Frazier Hammock of Pittsylvania County was named the 2021 Outstanding Young Agriculturalist.
The Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes individuals for involvement in agriculture, leadership ability and involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations.
Sturgis is a fifth-generation farmer and manager of Shore Breeze Farms in Cape Charles, where he oversees a hydroponic greenhouse facility, field crop operation and a farm market. The family also raises soybeans, corn, sorghum, wheat and vegetables through Tri-S Farms Inc., and clams and oysters for C&S Seafood.
In addition to involvement and leadership within Farm Bureau, Sturgis is an area director for the Virginia Soybean Association, and holds a director seat for the Eastern Shore Soil and Water Conservation District.
As Excellence in Agriculture Award winner, he will receive a Kubota utility vehicle courtesy of Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Services, and a travel package to the 2021 American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in January. At that event he will compete for the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture Award.
The Outstanding Young Agriculturalist recognition program honors high school juniors and seniors for academic, community and agribusiness achievement.
OYA winner Hammock is the son of Nathan and Jackie Hammock. He was 2021 valedictorian of Gretna High School and plans to pursue a degree in dairy science at Virginia Tech.
He aims to join his family’s multi-generation farm partnership at Hammock Dairy Inc. in Chatham. His current farm duties include monitoring cow health, administering vaccines and assisting with crop work.
Hammock was a participant in his school FFA chapter’s livestock judging, forestry contests and fundraisers. He has attended the Virginia Department of Forestry’s Holliday Lake Forestry Camp. This year he won college scholarships from the National Dairy Herd Information Association and the Pittsylvania Soil and Water Conservation District.
He also was the 2021 valedictorian for Piedmont Governor’s School for Mathematics, Science, and Technology; 2021 Pinnacle Award Recipient of the Graduate of Merit Program for Pittsylvania County Schools; and Eastern States Division Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen of the Year.
For his OYA win, Hammock will receive a $2,000 scholarship sponsored by Farm Credit, Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co. and VFBF.