Vineyard owner named Georgia's Farmer of the Year - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Vineyard owner named Georgia's Farmer of the Year

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July 28, 2006

Wray - For more than half a century, a South Georgia family has cultivated a uniquely southern crop.

Through the years, they have become the largest growers of Muscadine grapes in the world. And now, the owner of Paulk Vineyards is being recognized for his hard work

Since the day he was born, Gary Paulk has lived to farm.  "Farming is more than just a livelihood; it's a way of life," said Paulk.

After years of hard work and dedication, Paulk is finally beginning to reap what he sowed.  Swisher Sweet/Sunbelt Expo has named him Georgia's Farmer of the Year.  He says, "I was fortunate enough to receive the award this year."

Paulk will now represent Georgia at the Expo in Moultrie where he will compete with 8 other state's farmers for the title of the Southeastern Farmer of the year.  "I'm just glad to be able to represent Georgia, and I hope I do us proud.  If I don't win it, that's really not the point.  The point is to tell the story of agriculture."

Paulk co-owns 1,000 acres of farmland near Wray, Georgia.  He farms cotton, peanuts, and row crops, but he's most proud of his 500 acres of Muscadine grapes.  "There's a lot of work that goes into this.  They're four years old before they bear any, a lot of pruning, a lot of tender loving care to get them to this point," Paulk explained.

The Paulk's then use their grapes to make juices, jams, and dietary supplements.  "We actually process and press the juice on the farm, and we bottle the juice, as well as sell the juice to wineries.

Until the Expo this October, Paulk is focused on his race for president of the Georgia Farm Bureau.  The Sunbelt Expo will take place in Moultrie October 17th through the 19th.

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