Washington County ranching family wins Utah Farm Bureau’s top honors

T.J. and Amanda Atkin with their children in a John Deere Gator ATV, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Utah Farm Bureau, St. George News

SANDY — A Washington County family recently received top honors for their work as ranchers.

Ranchers tend to a herd of cattle, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Utah Farm Bureau, St. George News

T.J. and Amanda Atkin were the winners of the Utah Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement Award. The award was presented at the Utah Farm Bureau Annual Convention.

The award is the result of a competition that recognizes young farmers and ranchers that have excelled in their operations and honed their leadership abilities.

“We were excited and honored to win this award,” T.J. Atkin said in a press release issued by Utah Farm Bureau. “We really appreciate the ranching way of life and feel Farm Bureau has done a great job in advocating to young adults like ourselves the importance of keeping our great way of life productive and sustainable. We’re excited to represent our county and state at the national level.”

Contestants are evaluated based on a combination of their farming operation growth and financial progress of operation, as well as leadership in and out of the farm bureau. Judges look for excellence in management, growth and scope of the enterprise and self-initiative displayed throughout the operation.

The Atkins are the 6th generation of their family to be involved in agriculture in Southern Utah, dating back to 1868. The family runs a cattle ranch on the Arizona Strip. The two were involved in FFA, 4-H and athletics in high school. Later, T.J. studied agribusiness at Southern Utah University, while Amanda finished her degree in dental hygiene from Dixie State University.

T.J. and Amanda Atkin with their children, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Utah Farm Bureau, St. George News

The Atkins, representing the Washington County Farm Bureau, competed with three other finalists from around the state for the award. They received a 2018 John Deere Gator ATV courtesy of Cache Valley Bank and Stotz Equipment, an insurance policy for the ATV from Farm Bureau Financial Services and an expense-paid trip in January to the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in New Orleans.

“We love the many opportunities we have to engage with those not familiar with agriculture and share with them the many lessons that apply to everyone,” Amanda Atkin said in the press release. “We feel fortunate to live in this great part of our state and to interact with many great farmers and ranchers, and look forward to learning from others across the country.”

The Atkins will compete at the American Farm Bureau annual convention against Achievement Award winners from across the U.S. In 2019, the national winner of the award will receive a new truck courtesy of the Ford Motor Company. The runner-up will receive a Case IH Farmall 50A tractor. Third place finalists will receive a Case IH 40-inch combination roll cabinet/top chest and a $500 parts card, as well as $2,000 of Stanley Black & Decker merchandise.

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