After growing up on his father’s Houston County farm and graduating from Auburn University in 1968, Glenn Forrester wasn’t really sure what path to pursue. So, for three years, he tested the teaching profession as a vocational agriculture instructor.He did, however, keep his hands in the dirt as he continued assisting his father on a part-time basis. When his dad retired in 1984, he became a full time farmer, joining his brothers Charles and Ted in Forrester Farms Partnership.Today, Forrester Farms encompasses 4,150 acres (up from 2,000 in 1984), and Forrester has been selected as the 2006 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year for Alabama. He was selected for the honor in judging conducted by the Alabama Farm-City Committee.Forrester now joins eight other Southeastern state winners as a finalist for the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year Award for 2006, which will be announced during the Sunbelt Expo in Moultrie, Ga., on Oct. 17.Other state winners include: Gary Paulk, Georgia; Brooks Aycock III, Mississippi; Steve Gamble, South Carolina; Paul House, Virginia; Damon Deas, Florida; Sam Moore, Kentucky; Tommy Porter, North Carolina; and Bob Willis, Tennessee. As the Alabama state winner, Forrester will receive a $2,500 cash award and an expense-paid trip to the Sunbelt Expo from Swisher International of Jacksonville, Fla., a jacket and a $200 gift certificate from the Williamson-Dickie Company, a commemorative fireproof home safe from Misty Morn Safe Co., and a $500 gift certificate from Southern States. He is also eligible for the $14,000 that will go to the overall winner and the use of a Massey Ferguson tractor for a year from Massey Ferguson North America.As the 2006 Alabama Farm of Distinction winner in April, the Forresters received a John Deere Gator CX valued at more than $5,000 from Wire Road Tractor in Auburn, Lawn & Leisure in Montgomery, Deep South Tractor in Samson and Andalusia and Henry Farm Center with stores in Abbeville, Brundidge and Dothan, a $1,000 gift certificate from the Alabama Farmers Cooperative, and an engraved farm sign valued at more than $1,300 from Alfa Health.Swisher International, through its Swisher Sweets cigar brand, and the Sunbelt Expo are sponsoring the Southeastern Farmer of the Year Award. Forrester Farms include 900 acres (500 irrigated) of peanuts that yield 3,500 pounds per acre; 400 acres (200 irrigated) of cotton, yielding 900 pounds per acre plus there’s 800 acres of Bahia grass, with a yield of 300 pounds per acre and 400 acres of oats, producing 70 bushels per acre.Sod also plays an important role in the operation as there are 600 irrigated acres of Centipede with a yield of 85 pallets per acre and eight acres of registered 419 Tifway Bermuda also producing 85 pallets per acre. Wildlife habitat covers 500 acres, including 450 acres of improved pine trees.Sod is marketed directly to landscape businesses, construction contractors and individuals. Seed harvested from the centipede is sold through wholesale distributors or to other sod growers.”For the past two years, we have rented over 350 acres, packing shed equipment, hydro coolers and cool room storage for cantaloupe production,” said Forrester. Brother Charles has retired from the successful operation. Joining Forrester and brother Ted as partners are their sons, Jared and Arnie, respectively. Forrester and his wife Sylvia have four grown children – son Jared; son Jason, a political consultant; daughter Janna Sayers, a Medicare program analyst; and son Jonas, a computer sales representative.
Forrester To Compete For Southeastern Farmer Of Year