Farmers compete for award
Published 6:26 pm Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Escambia County farmers Arlan and Gaylan Shelly will find out today whether they have won a statewide Farm of Distinction award.
The Brewton farmers have been selected as finalists in the Alabama Farm-City Committee's 2006 Farm of Distinction competition.
As one of six finalists statewide, Shelly Farms will receive an engraved wood plaque, a $250 gift certificate from Alabama Farmers Cooperative and will qualify for more than $10,000 in additional prizes, which will be presented to the state winner today in Birmingham.
Having farmed just 60 miles from the Gulf of Mexico for the past 34 years, Arlan Shelly said he is no stranger to unpredictable weather.
But for the past few years, his operation has been in the path of more hurricanes than he cares to remember.
Despite the storms, Arlan and son Gaylan have not only survived in the farming business, they have prospered. Thanks to wise management decisions and hard work, Shelly Farms has grown from 28 acres of rented soybean land and borrowed two-row equipment to a 2,100-acre diversified farm that utilizes the latest technology.
Each year, the Shellys plant about 1,000 acres of cotton, 750 acres of peanuts and 250 acres of corn. Arlan said the crop rotation system helps control nematodes, but also is a risk-management tool because, if one crop is destroyed by storms, the others usually produce enough to keep the farm going.