Massey Ferguson is celebrating Robert “Bob” Martin Hall as the Swisher/Sunbelt Ag Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year for 2020-2021. This award is recognized as one of the most prestigious honors in American agriculture and earns Hall 250 hours on a Massey Ferguson tractor, among other prizes.
Hall owns and operates a fruit and vegetable business near York, South Carolina, called Bush-N-Vine Farm. Hall’s family has farmed and cared for the land for more than 150 years. The original 75-acre peach farm that was owned by Hall’s grandfather has now doubled in size and flourished to boast a year-round open-air market. In addition to the high-quality fruits, vegetables and flowers that are grown on the land, the grounds serve as a community oasis that hosts scenic ag and art tours, field trips, and other public events. Beyond the activities that take place directly on the farm, the family operates two seasonal roadside markets in South Carolina.
A wide variety of produce is grown at Bush-N-Vine Farm. Vegetables include peas, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, squash, beans and many more. Popular fruit offerings include strawberries, raspberries, peaches, watermelons, apples and several others. The farm’s flower fields are also popular destinations that allow community members a charming venue for family portraits among sunflowers, zinnias, dahlias, black-eyed Susans and more.
Acreage at Bush-N-Vine Farm is utilized for three different methods of produce growth: greenhouse space, high tunnels and open field land. Strawberries are the farm’s core fruit crop, yielding 17,500 pounds for each of their 10 irrigated acres. Additionally, the Hall family raises cattle and sells U.S. Department of Agriculture inspected and approved beef. The steers are growth hormone free and are fed grain from a local feed mill to increase flavor and tenderness of the meat.
The Hall family prides themselves on being good stewards of the land, noting that their fields have grown more fertile and productive through the decades due to their thoughtful farming methods. In 1980, Bob noticed their land had clotted soil, little organic matter and low fertility. The family has since implemented a green manure process and crop rotations. Additionally, they gather leaves from around the community and compost them, resulting in much more productive soil. The crop rotation for strawberries starts with peas in the summer of the first year. Hall then transitions to oats and clovers in the fall and spring, followed by strawberries the next fall.
Beyond crop rotation and fertilization, Bush-N-Vine cares for their land and produce by limiting pesticide applications and introducing bio-control species. Mites and other beneficial insects have been released on the land to protect crops from destructive pests.
Hall is the 31st Swisher/Sunbelt Ag Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year since the award’s inception in 1990. Massey Ferguson is proud to join Swisher and Sunbelt Ag in honoring “excellence in agriculture.”
For more information about Bush-N-Vine Farm offerings and their family-run operation, visit their website at https://www.bushnvinefarm.com/. To find details about the Farmer of the Year award, past winners and the nomination process, visit https://sunbeltexpo.com/foty/.