By Tia Lynn Ivey
Morgan County’s very own Daniel Williams, part of the fourth-generation-run dairy farm, Williams Dairy in Newborn, was honored with a prestigious statewide award. Lucy Ray, county extension coordinator for the University of Georgia Agricultural and Natural Resources Department, recommended Daniel Williams for The Outstanding Young Farmer Award from the Georgia Association of County Agricultural Agents.
“Mr. Williams was selected as a national semi-finalist and was awarded the Georgia Outstanding Young Farmer Award. He is a partner in Madison’s WDairy, LLC, which milks 1800 cows and grows corn and ryegrass silage on 3600 acres. He and his wife, Kristy, were recognized at the Georgia Association of County Agricultural Agents meeting at the Lake Blackshear Resort in Cordele, Georgia. Daniel is the only dairy producer in recent memory to have received this award,” explained Ray.
According to Ray, “The Outstanding Young Farmers of America is a fraternity comprised of approximately 1500 members consisting of past nominees of the Outstanding Young Farmer Program. The group is designed to facilitate an exchange of ideas and friendship that encourages excellence and involvement in agriculture and the local, state, and national community. This award was founded by United States Junior Chamber in 1954, and is the oldest Young Farmer Contest in the country. The program is administered by the Outstanding Farmers of America Fraternity, sponsored by John Deere and is supported by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents. All competitors must be between the ages of 21 and 40 and are judged on the progress of their farming operation (beginning until current), soil conservation, and community involvement.”
Daniel was raised and trained in the family business, owned by his parents, Everett and Carol Williams. Williams Dairy has enjoyed a long history in Morgan County with an impressive reputation. When Georgia Trends, an Atlanta-based magazine, profiled Williams Dairy in 2005, reporter Vincent Coppola raved about it.
“This is a snapshot of a successful Georgia dairy farm. Forward-looking, technologically sophisticated, micro-managed … consistently profitable, but subject, as all farms are, to the vagaries of the weather and the uncertainties of pricing. Such success is increasingly rare at a time when soaring land values, production costs — fuel alone has jumped almost 100 percent in the last two years — and the ever-present specter of environmental regulation are putting the economies of scale needed for success beyond the reach of the average family farmer,” wrote Coppola.
The land upon which Williams Dairy resides was first purchased by Roy Williams, Daniel’s great-grandfather, in 1938. John Williams, Daniel’s grandfather, used the farm to grow cotton until 1967. When Atlanta’s increased demand for dairy products became apparent, the Williams’ farm was transformed into a dairy farm. Everett Williams took over the family business and trained his children in the family business, growing Williams Dairy into a state-of-art and cutting edge dairy farm. Daniel is the latest in a long line of Williams to show extraordinary promise for the future of dairy farming.
For more information on the Outstanding Young Farmer program, contact your County Extension Agent or visit www.ofafraternity.org