Davis named Innovator of Year

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 19, 2015

By Andrew Garner
News Editor

Jerry Davis has been named the Northwest Florida Agriculture Innovator of the Year.
“It’s very rewarding,” Davis said. “I have to thank Mike Donahue and Libby Johnson for recommending me for this recognition.”
Davis has been a successful agriculturist in Santa Rosa and Escambia counties for years. He’s led many movements to improve farming techniques throughout the state.
Davis grew up in a farming family, growing soybeans and wheat in his youth.
Throughout his farming career, Davis has adopted new technology for agriculture. In 1987, he became involved with the extension service in testing a cotton crop simulation model and expert system developed by scientists in USDA-ARS and Mississippi State and Clemson Universities.
“We try to keep up with everything,” Davis said about trying new techniques. “I’m just blessed to be able to work with people who keep up with the industry. I’ve worked with several researchers.”
Davis tests his cotton crop simulation model on his farm for many years, and it allowed program participants to optimize inputs in relation to weather, nitrogen, moisture stress, crop maturity, growth results and harvest aid materials. The data that was collected provided researchers for model improvement, and data showed that growers increased net profits on test fields by more than $30 an acre.
Additionally, Davis adopted the no-till farming method in 1985. In no-till farming, farmers plant and fertilize directly into the soil without tilling it first.
Recently, Davis has tried his hand at growing carinata, which can be processed into a ready-to-use biofuel. Researches are studying to see whether carinata can be grown in the Panhandle for us as oil seeds. The seeds then would be crushed and the resulting product would be refined for use as a renewable source of jet fuel.
For the past several years, Davis has played a major role in the West Florida Research and Education Center’s Farm-City Week Celebration. His farm purchases and donates the sweet potatoes that are included in the box of Thanksgiving food that is given to pre-qualified needy recipients in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
Davis and his wife, Patty, and daughter, Caitlynn, are active in the farming operation that’s included cotton, peanuts, wheat, corn, soybeans, vegetables, livestock and other crops.

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