Ag News

Nolans named runners-up for AFBF national award

by Jay Stone, Georgia Farm Bureau

Posted on Jan 20, 2021 at 0:00 AM

Wayne County Farm Bureau members Jacob and Emily Nolan were named second-place winners for the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Achievement Award, which was announced during the AFBF Virtual Convention Jan. 13.

As second-place winners, the Nolans receive a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor, courtesy of Case IH.

Monroe County Farm Bureau Vice President Melissa Mathis was named to the top 10 in competition for the AFBF Excellence in Agriculture Award. Tift County Farm Bureau member Ashley Yopp advanced to the Sweet 16 round in the AFBF Discussion Meet. The Excellence in Agriculture and Discussion Meet competitions were held virtually. Mathis was one of 26 state winners to give presentations during the convention, while Yopp was one of 28 competitors in the Discussion Meet.

The Achievement Award recognizes outstanding young farmers and ranchers who have excelled in their farm operations and exhibited superior leadership abilities. The Nolans, who won the 2020 Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Achievement Award, own and operate Spring Fever Farms based in Screven. They grow corn, cotton, peanuts, pecans, satsuma oranges, strawberries and wheat, while raising a growing herd of Brahman and Hereford cattle. To learn more about the Nolans, visit

Mathis, who won the 2020 Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) Excellence in Agriculture Award, runs farm and pet supply stores in Bolingbroke, Barnesville and Monticello. She and her husband, Bobby, also have a small cattle farm. They live in Forsyth with their children, Jane and Copelan.

The Excellence in Agriculture Award is given to recognize outstanding young farmers and ranchers who derive the majority of their income from vocations other than production agriculture, but who actively contribute and grow through their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations.

To learn more about Mathis, visit

In her presentation, Mathis focused on how urban sprawl is affecting the growth of existing farms and the creation of new ones, increasing farm safety awareness and agricultural education.

Yopp is an assistant professor of agricultural leadership, education and communications at UGA’s Tifton Campus. She won the GFB 2020 YF&R Discussion Meet held virtually in October. To learn more about Yopp, visit

The Discussion Meet is designed to simulate a committee meeting, where groups of individuals talk about a selected agricultural topic and seek ideas to resolve issues within that topic. In three rounds of competition, Yopp and her competitors discussed international trade, natural disasters and big data.

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