David DeFelix is a fourth generation farmer in Jackson County. David is a 1995 graduate of Graceville High School. Back when he first started farming, he used his granddaddy’s tractors and equipment, but in 1997 he bought his first tractor. In 2006 David purchased his first center-pivot irrigation unit. Over the last 10 years, he has gradually upgraded so that all the farmland he owns is irrigated. Much of the land he rents is dry-land, but he has established enough irrigated land that 50 percent of the total cropland he farms is irrigated.
David farms 1,200 acres comprised of peanut, cotton and corn. He has a three-year peanut/cotton rotation. This year, he had about 350 acres planted in peanut. He grew two varieties this year: TufRunner 297 and FloRun 331, both on 36” single rows. There were 160 acres of 297 on irrigated land, and then 190 acres of 331 that were dry-land. Last year he had some 331’s that performed very well without irrigation, and he felt that they were a good fit for his farm on dry-land acres. Typically, about half of his peanut crop is grown for seed peanuts, and the other half for the market. This year, all 350 acres were grown for Florida Foundation Seed. Currently, the farm average is about 4,500 lbs./ac, dry-land/irrigated combined. He practices conservation tillage and normally plants triticale as a cover crop at the end of the season.
David is a member of the Florida Peanut Producers Association and is also a member of Sowega Cotton Gin. He serves on the state board for the Florida Peanut Producers Association and has been on the National Cotton Board since 2011.
Over the past 20 years, David’s farming business has survived both good and hard times. When asked if he had any thoughts that he’d like to share regarding farming, he laughed and said, “Embrace the struggle.” He also said that, “Trent and Sarah Catherine (his two kids), worked nearly every day on the farm with him this summer and were a tremendous help. Six hands are better than two.” However, he was a little depressed on the first day of school; he said, “I lost my help and my entertainment all in the same day.”
David has been married to his wife Kim for nine years. She pulls quadruple duty helping David farm, ranch, raise a family, and manages the family parts business which has grown to include 20 stores spanning from Florala, Alabama to Tallahassee, and from Albany, Georgia, to Port St. Joe. David says that he’s always needing something from the parts store and Kim never fails to bring it home or find it when no one else can.
The Peanut Farmer of the Year is selected annually by the Jackson County Extension Service with the assistance from the Florida Peanut Producers Association.