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Young Farmers reap awards

The Effingham County Young Farmers organization recognized several local producers and supporters at its annual awards banquet at New Ebenezer Retreat Center.

Robert “Snookie” Helmey was named the county’s farmer of the year.

Bill Utter, owner of Butterducks Winery, was honored as the agribusinessman of the year.

Bart Waller took home the awards as the year's top corn producer and top soybean producer, and Ashley Murphy was the top peanut producer.

The Pace Brothers — Julian Pace on guitar and lead vocals and younger brother Ethan on the fiddle — provided the entertainment during dinner, performing several Christmas favorites.

The program also included a devotional by Young Farmers treasurer Jeremy Zittrouer, remarks by Effingham County Schools Superintendent Randy Shearouse and several door prizes.

For more photos from the banquet, visit