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Source: Dow AgroSciences news release

Most would think being named a Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Ag Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year is the pinnacle of achievement for an agricultural producer in the 10 Southern states in the program. A second peak, however, is sharing the honor with local charities through a two-year-old Dow AgroSciences award program.

Duane Canfield, portfolio marketing leader for PhytoGen® cottonseed, explained just how impactful the program can be for local towns and cities.

"We at Dow AgroSciences are proud to have supported 17 charities, many in rural areas, specially designated by growers in 2012 and 2013," Canfield said. "The Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Ag Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year program is a way to show the world that farming is not just about food. It's about the health of our communities."

The charities supported by the farmers include breast cancer research, local children's homes and hunger programs in several states. Most favored are 4-H and FFA.

This year will mark the 24th anniversary of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Ag Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year program, casting a due spotlight on American farmers. One grower is chosen from 10 Southern states, each being one of agriculture's top business leaders, innovators, environmentalists and community leaders.

In addition to the awards winners receive from other sponsors, Dow AgroSciences awards each Farmer of the Year finalist with their choice of either PhytoGen cottonseed or a monetary donation to a chosen charity. The overall Southeastern Farmer of the Year wins double.

James Cooley, a strawberry and peach farmer in South Carolina, is the 2013 Southeastern Farmer of the Year. He chose to support the Hope Center for Children and Mobile Meals Service of Spartanburg, S.C.

"This award has been a blessing to me and I'm excited to use the money from Dow AgroSciences for our local children's home," Cooley said. "Farming is about caring for the land and the people who live on it."

Visit to learn more about the Farmer of the Year program.

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