BLACKSBURG, VA — Virginia Cooperative Extension has recognized Robert T. “Tom” Nixon II and his wife, Kim, of Glenmary Farm in Rapidan, VA, as recipients of the 2014 Virginia Farmer of the Year Award.
The award commends individual contributions to the commonwealth’s agricultural industry.
Beef cattle, turkeys and row crops are major enterprises at scenic Glenmary Farm overlooking the Rapidan River. The Nixons, who own the farm, are focused on flexibility in growing and marketing cattle and crops.
For example, the Nixons harvest corn as a cash crop or silage, depending on prices for corn and beef cattle. They are equally flexible when it comes to selling cattle, whether they are weaned calves, stockers, bred cows or finished cattle from his feedlot.
The Nixons have also built a young, productive cowherd. They sell about 15 percent of their cows as bred females.
“I’d rather sell a bred cow than a cull cow,” said Tom Nixon. “I like to move them out when they’re still productive. This year, with cattle prices high, we may sell more cows.”
“Diversification helps with risk management,” Tom Nixon added. “So we built our feedlot, turkey houses, and started managing the [Central] Bull Test Station. Feeding the bulls has led to additional custom feeding for local producers.”
A 30-year farmer, Tom Nixon farms about 4,000 acres, which are mostly rented. Nixon owns 378 of those acres outright.
“We rent from absentee landowners because land prices are high,” said Tom Nixon.
The Nixons join nine other state winners from the Southeast as finalists for the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award. The overall winner will be announced Tuesday, Oct. 14, at the Sunbelt Ag Expo farm show in Moultrie, GA.
Virginia Cooperative Extension has nominated individuals for the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year since the award’s inception in 1990.
“It is always an honor to recognize hardworking and dedicated professionals like Tom and Kim Nixon as recipients of the Virginia Farmer of the Year award,” said Robert Grisso, associate director of agriculture and natural resources for Virginia Cooperative Extension and state coordinator of the Farmer of the Year Award.
“Tom and his family are the reason why agriculture is the number one industry in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Grisso added. “They have a diverse farm with beef cattle, turkeys and row crops operations, and they execute great conservative measures. Tom has an outstanding family, and they all promote agriculture. I’m proud of the relationship Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension have with the Nixons.”
As the Virginia winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Award, the Nixons will receive $2,500; an all-expense-paid trip to the Sunbelt Ag Expo farm show from Swisher International of Jacksonville, FL; a $500 gift certificate from Southern States Cooperative; the choice of either $1,000 in PhytoGen cottonseed or a $500 donation to a designated charity from Dow AgroSciences; and a Columbia vest from Ivey’s Outdoor and Farm Supply.