BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A central Alabama farm dating back to the 1800s is being honored as the state's 2018 Farm of Distinction.
The Shelby County row-crop operation run by John and Kate DeLoach received the honor during a luncheon in Birmingham on Thursday.
A release from the Alabama Farmer's Federation said the award means the couple will receive $20,000 in cash and prizes. They will also represent the state in a regional competition later this year.
The 1,325-acre DeLoach Farms has been in the family since 1820. It includes hundreds of acres planted in cotton, soybeans, wheat and hay. The farm has some of the highest yields in the area, the Federation said.
John DeLoach said in a statement he has been working the farm since he was a teenager.
"I was 13 when my grandfather passed away," he said. "Grandma talked about selling the farm, but I told her I'd come every day after school to help. At 16, when I graduated high school, I pretty much took over running the farm."
Now, 26 years later, the land management plan includes 20 acres of improved wetlands where DeLoach regulates water levels for waterfowl. Plans include the addition of honeybees, a vineyard and agricultural tourism.