Resilience, resurgence, RAIN… That’s the theme for this year’s Farm City Banquet as we celebrate the spirit of Southwest Oklahoma. Farm City Week will take place Monday, Oct. 5 through Wednesday, Oct. 7, directly following the Cotton Pick’n Chili Cookoff on Saturday, Oct. 3.
Farm City Week will include farm tours with tractor driving, cotton farm tours, cotton gin tours, and wheat farm tours, as well as a luncheon on Monday. There will be a dam tour and banquet on Tuesday, and a tour and incentive flight at Altus Air Force Base on Wednesday. The Base tour will be using two planes with 25 passengers each.
“There is a determined spirit in this place, an undeterred willingness to do what must be done,” said Altus Chamber of Commerce President Brian Bush. “It stems from the fundamental value that serving one’s country, one’s family, or one’s community is worth the cost, whatever that cost may be. Some call it an Air Force Spirit. Some call it a Farmer Spirit. We just call it an Altus Spirit.”
Bush went on to say that many Americans simply do not understand the critical role that farmers and ranchers play in today’s society. And many Americans take for granted the sacrifice and service of our nation’s military and its importance to our way of life.
“This is what Farm City Week is all about,” Bush said, “highlighting the importance of agriculture to our economy in Southwest Oklahoma, celebrating what our local producers are accomplishing right here in Altus, and educating our region about the interconnectivity of our economy. Through these efforts, we remind our community that what happens on the farms, what happens at Altus Air Force Base, and what happens in our local businesses is all part of what makes Altus tick.”
The drought experienced over the last several years has tested the resolve of our local producers and has impacted several facets of our local community off the farm, including Altus Air Force Base. Tonight we celebrate the resilience of the people who make up this community, the resurgence we have experienced over the last several months, and the gift of the rains that have returned. Through it all, we have been reminded of the common spirit that connects farm, city, and military in Altus – the spirit that inspires a nation.
Farm City Awards
The Farm City Awards recognize the outstanding achievements of persons engaged in farming in our area. There are two categories, the Generations Award, honoring a producer under the age of 40, and the Legends Award, honoring a producer over the age of 40. The top candidates are nominated by local banking institutions involved in agriculture lending as well as agriculture related businesses, and the winner was chosen by an independent panel from the nominations received.
Farm City Generations Award Nominees
Justin Abernathy: Supported and motivated by his wife Amy and their children Kason, Kenzie, and Kreed. Justin began farming as a teenager helping his Dad and Grandfather on the family farm. When he returned from OSU, he continued to be involved in the family business as well as beginning his own farming operation. Just has proven himself, at a very early age, to be an energetic, honest, hard working operator and a devoted family man.
Brandon Bush: Brandon and his wife Emily have two daughters, Brynn and Everly. Brandon comes from a long time agriculture family in Jackson County. His family has been farming for several generations, and Brandon has chosen to carry on the tradition of raising crops and livestock. He is considered to be reputable among his peers and is considered to be an up and coming leader inside and outside of the agriculture community of Jackson County.
Farm City Legends Award Nominees
Michael Dishman: Mike and Diane Dishman have two children, Derrick and Chris, and Mike has been involved in farming for over 50 years, mostly in the areas of cattle and wheat. Mike has one of the largest cattle operations in Jackson County. He handles his business in an outstanding manner and is a valued citizen of southwest Oklahoma. Mike believes in and supports the youth of Jackson County and has assisted with the Jackson County Junior Livestock Show for several years.
Joe Kelly: Joe is married to Kristin Kelly and has eight children ranging from ages 22 to 45. Joe has a diversified farming operation with cotton, wheat, milo, alfalfa, and cattle. Joe began working for farmers in 1966 on a part-time basis while stationed at Altus Air Force Base. After serving our great country, he was able to start and build a very successful farming operation. He is a true advocate for agriculture and has represented the industry very well at state and local levels.