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Pete Griffith named top conservationist in Lee County

Lee County farmer wins award for the second time, 19 years after his first one

Pete Griffith receives his Conservationist of the Year Award for Lee County from Lower Chattahoochee River Soil and Water Conservation District Chairman Guy Beard. The Lee County farmer also won the award in 1985. (Special photo)

Pete Griffith receives his Conservationist of the Year Award for Lee County from Lower Chattahoochee River Soil and Water Conservation District Chairman Guy Beard. The Lee County farmer also won the award in 1985. (Special photo)

LEESBURG — Pete Griffith of Griffith Farms LLC has been named Conservationist of the Year for Lee County, an award he first won nearly two decades ago.

Griffith received the award last week at the annual awards banquet of the Lower Chattahoochee River Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors and its cooperating banks.

Griffith, who has owned and operated his 2,300-acre farm for more than 40 years, farmed with his father as a child and is a second-generation operator of the family farm. His farming operation is made up of 1,200 acres of cultivation, which includes peanuts, corn and milo grain, as well as a 300-head cattle operation.

Officials with the conservation district said that Griffith’s conservation practices include installation terraces and waterways, low pressure irrigation, and he has converted to 100 percent electric energy. In addition, they said, Griffith has planted pines for wildlife and timber production, and utilizes prescribed burning and thinning in the management of his pine stands. Griffith served as a Lee County district supervisor on the Lower Chattahoochee board for more than 27 years, serving as district treasurer for 26 of those years. During his many years of dedication to the district, officials said, he was recognized for his outstanding service.

Griffith also served on the Farm Service Agency Board for 13 years, and is currently serving on the Georgia Seed Development Commission as an appointed adviser for the past two years. He received the Administrative Award for Service in Agriculture in 1990. In 1985, he was Conservationist of the Year for Lee County.

Griffith has two sons, Jonathon and Matthew, and he attends First Baptist Church in Leesburg.

Other farmers recognized by the district as the top conservationist in their respective counties were:

— James Lester Griffin Sr., Clay County;

— Henry L. Balkcom III, Quitman County;

— Kathy Moore Gillespie, Randolph County;

— Hagerson & Hagerson, Schley County;

— Terrell Jones Farms, Stewart County;

— Farmers Seed & Feed Service, Sumter County;

— A Creek Runs Through It, Terrell County;

— Jones Brothers Farms, Webster County.

The Lower Chattahoochee River Soil & Water Conservation District was organized on July 11, 1939 following the infamous “Dust Bowl.”