Clarke County, Miss. A Clarke County family farm is a semi-finalist for a prestigious environmental award. The Hilton Davis Farm near Waynesboro is one of two semi-finalists in the southeast United States.
The award from the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association is presented to superior family poultry farmers in six regions of the country. As we found out, the Davis family has reason to be proud.
Davis recently showed the judges around his family's 450 acre family farm and ten poultry houses. He has been around farming all of his life, but took up poultry farming 14 years ago after retiring from a career in manufacturing..
"We try to run our farm the way it's supposed to be run, environment being part of our business," said Davis. "It's a vested interest for our farm but for longevity to do the right thing through documentations and things."
The other semi-finalist for this region is in Kentucky. The judges told Newscenter 11 the Davis operation is impressive.
"Different committee members mentioned it's very important, just the first impression when you come to the facility. There are a lot of small details that are taken care of," said John Pearson of the Georgia Tech Research Institute. "It's quite impressive when you look at the number of houses that are on the location. So it's a very impressive operation and very enjoyable day to get to come out and see what's going on."
Pearson says there are many environmental factors they look for in choosing the winner.
"We're really interested in one, of course," said Pearson. "Is it a quality poultry operation? Because at the end of the day, that's really what it's about. But the environmental aspects, and their stewardship of just the property, and how well it reflects on the poultry industry, is a very important component of what we're looking for. "
There will be a winner in each of six regions in the U.S. and the winners are invited to the International Poultry Expo in Atlanta.
If the Davis farm wins, the family will receive $1,000, a trophy and all expenses paid to accept the award in Atlanta Jan. 28, 2014.