Spencers win award
Calhoun County row crop and beef cattle farmers Brad and Carla Spencer of Vardaman were recently named state winners of the 2011 Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Achievement Award.
The Spencers will receive a new Ford pickup truck, the use of John Deere and Kubota tractors, $500 from Ford and $1,800 toward the purchase of technology from Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation. They will represent Mississippi in national competition in Honolulu, Hawaii, in January.
A third generation farmer, Brad grew up on his family’s Vardaman sweet potato farm and planted his first crop, a total of five acres, when he was 15. Through the years, he gradually increased his acreage until he was able to form a partnership with his father. The Spencers now annually grow 500 acres of sweet potatoes. They package, sell and distribute four grades of potatoes and bag and custom pack potatoes for other brokers.
The farm diversified in recent years, planting peanuts and soybeans for the benefit of crop rotation. Brad also runs 50 head of cattle and grows 20 acres of watermelons with his sons.
The Spencers are active members of their county Farm Bureau, where he is a member of the board of directors and serves as YF&R chair. Carla is county women’s committee vice chair. Brad has also served as vice chair of the MFBF Sweet Potato Commodity Advisory Committee and has participated in the statewide Farm Families of Mississippi Ag Image Campaign.
Brad is a member of the board of directors of the Sweet Potato Council and the board of directors of the Sweet Potato Council Fruit and Vegetable Co-op. He was named the Sweet Potato Council Young Farmer of the Year in 2006 for promoting new ways of selling sweet potatoes.
Brad is active in numerous other ag organizations, his church and various civic organization. He coaches two baseball teams every year as a volunteer and is the volunteer pitching coach for the local high school baseball team.
The Spencers have two children, ages 11 and 8.