Building on the foundation set by his father in Effingham County, Shiloh Farms owner Bruce Redmond has expanded his operation through innovation and dedication, earning him the honor of 2024 Georgia Farmer of the Year, presented at the 2024 Georgia Ag Forecast in Tifton, Georgia, on Jan. 26.
Nominated by Blake Carter, the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Effingham County, Redmond assumed full ownership and operation of Shiloh Farms in 2018 after the passing of his father, Larry Redmond, combining his operations with his family’s holdings. Today, Bruce Redmond farms 2,800 acres of rented and owned farmland, including both dryland and irrigated acres of peanuts and cotton.
In the late 1990s, Shiloh Farms began producing certified Tifton 9 bahia grass seed, which was cooperatively bred by the UGA Coastal Plain Experiment Station and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service. Since then, Shiloh Farms has become the largest producer of certified bahia grass seed in the Southeast. In 2005, the Georgia Seed Development Commission chose Shiloh Farms to produce the first large-scale ‘TifQuik’ foundation seed plot in Georgia. Currently, Shiloh Farms is one of the three certified ‘TifQuik’ growers in the world, with nearly 600 acres in seed production, producing 40-50 tons of bahia grass seed per year.
“Thank you all for this incredible honor. Farming is all I've ever known; it's all I’ve ever done. Everything in my life has come from the hard work and long hours that farmers all know too well. I'm blessed beyond measure to have a family that supports me, employees that work hard and resources to keep going,” Redmond said when accepting the award. “Working with Extension agents has been something I grew up watching my dad do with Mr. Bill Tyson. Now I have my own agent, Blake Carter. UGA Extension has given our farm so much. I'm glad it's around to help farmers like myself. It's humbling to get to represent Georgia and the rest of the farmers of our great state. There are so many more deserving folks out there and that makes this recognition so much more special.”
Carter met Redmond when he first joined UGA Extension as an agent.
“Bruce exemplifies what it means to be a farmer. He is tenacious, proactive, resourceful, efficient and, above all else, caring. He cares about his family — his wife and three beautiful girls — who are the reason he works so hard. He cares about the ground he farms on and the crops he produces. He cares about carrying on the Shiloh Farm legacy his daddy started building,” Carter said. “Five years ago, when his world turned upside down, he was forced into taking the reins of a business and farm that he did not expect to run by himself. Bruce and his daddy had spent their whole lives together farming side-by-side, then overnight it was just Bruce. While it was tough, seeing Bruce overcome, learn and step-up to the plate shows the kind of farmer Bruce is.”
That dedication extends to Redmond’s community as well, said Carter, adding that Redmond is quick to help neighboring farmers, employees and anyone else who asks. Redmond has been active in working with his local Extension agent as a site for crop variety and fertility trials and, most recently, as a site for research on soil moisture sensors.
“When his local Extension agent desperately needed someone to pull a float in a parade or a farmer to test an off-the-wall, on-farm research idea, Bruce was there without hesitation. If I could sum Bruce's motivations up as a farmer, I would say he farms for his family and their future, his daddy, and because he loves it. ‘So, God made a farmer...’ and in this case that farmer is Bruce Redmond," Carter explained.
Redmond has been a leader in incorporating conservation farming practices focused on improving the sustainability of his enterprise, minimizing environmental impact and increasing the efficiency of purchased inputs, including crop scouting, grid sampling, converting to low-pressure irrigation tips and incorporating bahia grass in his peanut rotation. On his farms, Redmond has built and maintained terraces and grassed waterways to reduce soil erosion and implemented the use of soil moisture sensors to irrigate more efficiently.
Redmond has served on his local USDA Farm Service Agency committee for seven years and is a supporter of Georgia 4-H and the Effingham Young Farmers association. His honors include the 2023 Effingham County Friend of 4-H award, the 2022 Georgia Outstanding Young Farmer by the Georgia Association of County Agricultural Agents, and the 2012 Young Farmer of the Year Award from the Effingham Young Farmers association. In 2021, he was recognized as the Conservationist of the Year by the Ogeechee River Soil and Water Conservation District, who honored his father with the same recognition in 1993. Redmond and his wife, Jillian Redmond, have three daughters, Lainey, 8; Ellie, 4; and Shiloh, 2.
“This is a great moment to remember the greatest asset of Georgia agriculture, and that's the Georgia farmer. Never forget that. Day to day, we worry about a lot of nuts and bolts and numbers, but that resource on the farm is really what makes it go. Each year, we solicit nominations from county agents across the state for outstanding and innovative farmers,” said Mark McCann, Agriculture and Natural Resources program leader and assistant dean for UGA Extension, who presented the award. “This year’s recipient is the 33rd farmer to be recognized and will go on to represent the state in the Southeastern Farmer of the Year competition sponsored by Sunbelt Expo.”
After a panel of judges visits each state nominee’s farm, Redmond will represent Georgia in the race for the Sunbelt Ag Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year in October.
Learn more about the Georgia Ag Forecast, hosted by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, at agforecast.caes.uga.edu. Visit extension.uga.edu for more about UGA Extension’s work in Georgia communities.