Newspaper Archive of
The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
August 15, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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August 15, 2018

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Page 6B Diane Glidowell and the site of his farming news@mymcr.nei operation. Vaughn grew up in Monroe County and grew his passion for Being named Georgia farming on land his father, Farmer of the Year is a unique honor for James Butler Vaughn, bought in Vaughn, a man who has 1942. An important part of received many honors, his story is that the success of Vaughn Farms is built on contributions from multiple generations, now and a recognition that Monroe County is eager to celebrate as his home l7 West Johnston Street - Forsvth GA 3J0}? a ‘On the Square O 478.994.8325 W THIschK's rcATunEs WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15TH iiéfi; @Efiwahfi’fiy - 0 bisque noodle bowl with basil pesto and asiago cheese Garlic grilled cheese 332i??? fj’tfii? Blackened catfish and shrimp over Parmesan soft grits with cayenne spiked remoulade THURSDAY, AUGUST 16TH it??? gifl‘éfiiflfif Beef and barley stew with grilled ciabatta White grilled cheese in rye with smoked mayo if 5.1%. 9723a,} Chicken pot pie with putt pastry crust FRlDAY, AUGUST l7TH "Iii/f; v. wait/4%,? Chicken pot pie stew with cheddar biscuit crumble Southern tried pork chop in brioche with black pepper aioli WE ift&?'€ Southern tried pork chops RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED I , [Player’s Name: I I Message in ad: HEY PARENTS, DONJ MISS HIS OPPRTUNITY To v in the 2018 Fall Sports Preview, featuring: DEADLINE: FridayrAugust I7tli l . :Checktine: DSmall Dog ($20) D Regular Dog (340) D Big Dog ($60) 1 , Email to business@mymcr.neror fax to 994-2359 or ca11994-2358 : .-IIl-I-i-l-I-I-I-V-Ii-I-I-III-I-I-I-l EMAILIO BUSINESS©MYMCKNET o FAX T0 994-2359 o CAll 994-2358 reaching down to grand— children that are just big enough to ride the pony he keeps for them in sight of his law office on the farm. A team of three judges visited Vaughn Farms on Monday, Aug. 6. It was the first stop on five days of touring farms in 10 states to pick the 2018 South- eastern Farmer of the Year. The team would spend three hours interviewing and touring with each of the Farmers of the Year in Alabama, Arkansas, Flori— da, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia before picking the winner to be announced at the 2018 Swisher Sweets/ Sunbelt Agricultural Expo- sition in Moultrie Oct. 16- 18. Georgia’s last overall winner was Philip Grimes of Tifton in 2014. Swishers Sweets has been the premier sponsor of the Farmer of the Year since 1990. The overall win- ner gets $15,000, use of a Massey Ferguson tractor for a year, several other nice gifts from sponsors and a whole lot of pride, bragging rights and great memories. Monroe County Ex) tension Agent Caitlin Jackson, who nominated Vaughn for Farmer of the Year, brought the judges to Vaughn Farms in the county’s 4-H van and drove the group over part of the 5,590 acres of land that is Vaughn’s farming operation. About 4,000 acres is planted in timber. Other acres are pasture for his Angus beef cattle or are used to grow hay to feed Phone: __...____————— August l5, 20l8 Above, James Vaughn, fourth from left, shows judges Vaughn Farms and answers ques- tions about his operation as Brett Reese, right, records the tour on video. Below, Chip Blalock, right, executive director of the Sunbelt Ag Expo, snaps a picture of James Vaughn and some of the genetically improved Angus cows grazing on his pasture land. the herd and to sell. Maintaining and ex— panding the cattle and timber operations from the relatively small farm with which he began is accomplishment enough with the variables in weather, economy, and an- imal and plant health and productivity that a farmer faces. Vaughn also took a farming disaster and spent nine years researching and working to turn it into something positive. In 2006 a root rot fungus began killing the trees on a 650-acre pine plantation he had bought from the Talmadge farm; the infes— tations eventually traced back to the nursery that supplied the seedlings for the tract. He had to cut the immature trees and find another way to use the land. He began the expen— sive and slow process of converting the timberland to pasture. As the pasture grass took root, he dou- bled the size of his cattle herd and began producing hay commercially. He left some clumps of oak trees around the pastures to give the cows shade. He took designs for pasture cells created on computer and turned them into reality. “I can still picture the ’06—’07 stump land,” said Vaughn. “It cost more to convert it than the land cost. This place has_come a long way from being cut- over timber.” Vaughn was proud to show the judges both . the beautiful hay and the beautiful cattle it produces. He also showed them how efficiently he had designed the pastures, with the help of his sons, Matthew and Jordan. The fencing and catch pens are laid out so well that most of the time two people on horses can manage the herds, and often one of those people is his wife, Beth. Vaughn Farms is home to over 400 beef cows, including a herd that he uses to focus on improving genetics. He has a contract with a feedlot in Iowa to buy calves, sells some grass-finished cattle to a marketer and sells some bred heifers and about 15 registered bulls each year. He keeps at least 15 cutting horses to work the cattle ‘ and as show horses. Much of the hay on the farm is sold through Monroe County’s Country Oaks Farm 8r PetSupply, in which Beth is a partner. He said the farm produces about 70,000 square bales per year besides the huge 1,000 lb. round bales. Vaughn told the judges that Matthew’s mechani- cal talents in maintaining equipment are a key to . keeping the farm opera— tiOn running. Things also keep going because of the . efforts of Jordan, who has a special interest in the ‘ horses as well as the rest of the operation; Ben, who has a degree in forestry and is an attorney with a law practice as is Vaughn; and his three daughter— in-laws, who have been_ welcome additions to the farm as well as the famin Vaughn’s, daughter, Jenni- fer; lives in South Carolina, where she is married, rais- ing children and working with horses. When asked what he does for recre— ation, Vaughn said he en— joys going to horse shows with Jennifer, Jordan, Beth and other members of the family. He also said he likes to fish, but doesn’t do much of that. Looking backward, Vaughn said that the house where he now has his law office on the farm was once his grandmother’s house, and the barns behind it were originally dairy barns. He and his father started cleaning out the barns in the 1980’s and using them to condi- tion calves. He rebuilt the wooden pens with pipe panels. He built a chicken house (mostly for the grandchildren to enjoy) with lumber his father I saved. Vaughn said that with a new green power mill ‘ about eight miles away, every part of the tree that is harvested is used. He shared that some of the first coastal Bermuda grass planted in the area was Lett, Monroe County Extension agent Caitlin Jackson and James Vaughn talk about the variety of grasses planted in the pastures as they stand in front of huge stacks of hay cut from the fields. Below, left to right, Chip Blalock talks with Kris Vaughn and Beth Vaughn during his tour of Vaughn Farms. James Vaughn emphasized the importance of family in the farm’s success. planted on his farm in the 1950’s. “Daddy was pne of the first people who quit put— ting seed in the ground and grew grass,” said Vaughn. “He was pretty progressive.” He pointed out that his farm is one of the high- est elevations in Monroe County. At the right spot, you can see one of the other highest spots in the county, the miles-away Monroe County court- house. The Swisher Sweets/ Sunbelt Ag Expo judges this year are Charles Snipes, retired Mississippi Extension weed special-’ ist from Greenville, Miss; beef cattle rancher Cary Lightsey of Lake Wales, Fla, who was the over- all winner in 2009; and John McKissick, longtime University of Georgia ag economist from Athens. Videographer Brett Reece worked to capture the interviews with Vaughn and the tour of the farm, 1 including using drones, as E the judges saw it. “It amazes me year after T year the quality of each 1 state winner,” said one ; judge as the tour wrapped ‘ up. ‘ “It has been an awe- some morning,” said Chip Blalock, EXecutive Direc— tor of the Sunbelt Ag Expo. “We hope to return the favor this fall when you come to Moultrie.” TH" h§¥}§¥i~“w' ,viifib!‘