Lewis Banks of Mansfield, GA was named the 2020 Georgia County Agents Association Outstanding Young Farmer. He and his wife, Brittany, have two small children, Caroline and Brett. Lewis saw an opportunity to make a living operating a sustainable farm by bringing together the farming knowledge passed onto him from his father and the latest research in sustainable practices.
Lewis operates a 1000 acre farm in Newton County. Crop diversification and rotation is Lewis’ first line of defense with pest and disease control. For that reason, Lewis includes corn, cotton, wheat, sorghum, and soybeans as his cash crops. In addition, this year Lewis has started a 200-acre organic row crop farm. Lewis utilizes no-till and strip tillage for greater soil stewardship. 200 acres of Lewis’s land borders the Alcovy River and soil and water conservation are essential. The local soil and water council has noted Lewis’ conservation methods of building terraces, reduced tillage and working with local city and Georgia Environmental Protection Division. They awarded him with “Conservationist of the Year 2019”. Lewis also works in collaboration with city and state officials to implement a municipal nutrient management plan for row crop farming on public lands. To insure soil and waterway protection, Lewis follows EPD plans for waste disposal by following their nutrient management plans. To document his environmental protection efforts are working, Lewis monitors soil fertility and crop nutrition with tissue analysis. Lewis values other farmers’ and the Newton County Extension Agent’s help.
The purpose of the Outstanding Young Farmers Program is to bring about a greater interest in the named farmer to foster better urban-rural relations through the understanding of the farmers’ endeavors, to develop a further appreciation for their contributions and achievements, and to inform the agribusiness community of the growing urban awareness of farmers’ importance and impact on America’s economy. He was nominated by the UGA Extension Newton County Agricultural and Natural Resources Agent, Ashley Best. His application will be judged at the national level and results will be announced in February 2021.