Hard work earns man Alabama Farmer of the Year award

Andy Wendland
Andy Wendland

Andy Wendland was born into farming. The son of a prominent Central Alabama farming family has taken over the family business and made it better.

Wendland has a lot to be proud of. He runs the 6,000-plus-acre Autauga Farming Company. He is the President of the Autauga County Farmers Federation, and now, Wendland is the 2011 Alabama winner of the Swisher Sweets/ Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award.

Wendland was chosen for his success as a beef cattle and row crop farmer, and as the Alabama winner, he now has a chance to become the overall Southeastern Farmer of the Year.

Wendland is no stranger to hard work, something his father, "Buzz," instilled in him as a young farmhand.

"Dad always liked to see us working," he remembers. Wendland recalls clearing fields with other local boys, and picking up tree roots by hand.

That value in hard work is certainly something that has earned Wendland the Alabama Farmer of the Year award. This year, he's growing approximately 1,400 acres of cotton, 600 acres of wheat, 150 acres of soybeans, 300 acres of corn, 150 acres of oats, 100 acres of rye, and close to 3,000 acres in permanent pasture or hay land. That's not to mention the approximately 1,750 livestock his enterprises include.

Even with all that, Wendland says he enjoys what he does and looks toward the future.

"I'm fortunate I grew up farming. I love what I do," he says. "My goal is to improve our production, refine our practices and be successful. We have a great team here helping us work towards that end."

Wendland will be awarded a $2,500 cash prize, as well as other prizes for winning the Alabama award. But he still has a chance at earning even bigger prize totals. The overall winner receives a $15,000 cash prize and the use of a tractor for a year, along with several other prizes.

The overall winner will be announced Tuesday, October 18, at the Sunbelt Ag Expo farm show in Moultrie, GA.