The Keith Campbell family of Chumuckla was recognized as Santa Rosa County’s “Outstanding Farm Family of the Year” during the 47th Annual Santa Rosa County Farm Tour held July 18th. Keith and his wife Robynn, along with daughters Brittney, Ashleigh and son-in-law Adam Bondurant, accepted the award from County Commissioners Don Salter and Jim Melvin. Sheilah Bowman, Florida District Director for Congressman Jeff Miller also presented the family with a Congressional Record proclamation honoring them for their accomplishments.
The Campbell’s have a rich agricultural heritage. Keith is a sixth generation farmer on his father’s side and a fourth generation farmer on his mother’s side of the family. The Campbell family of farmers emigrated from Scotland to South Carolina and finally settled in the Chumuckla area in the early 1800s.
After two years of college, Keith began farming with his grandfather, W.T. Stewart, on 500 hundred acres in 1983. He eventually took over complete operation of the farm that has grown to more than 1,300 acres today. The family’s major crops are cotton, peanuts, and wheat. They also raise beef cattle with a herd of around 60 brood cows and calves. In addition, the past few years they have maintained an apiary for honey production and crop pollination.
Family members and neighbors help sustain the farm. Robynn is a homemaker supporting the family with her full-time efforts. Ashleigh’s husband Adam, a senior at UWF, works part-time on the farm and nephew Dale Campbell helps out after school. A key component of Keith’s approach to farming involves sharing work with neighboring farmers with whom he performs custom planting and harvesting to pool equipment and labor.
Keith is a progressive farmer who always looks for better ways to improve the efficiency of his operation. He says one of the biggest changes he has seen in farming was the introduction of herbicide resistant crops in the late 1990s. This allowed him to implement conservation tillage with benefits of reduced tillage, soil erosion, fuel, machinery, labor costs, and the overall amount of herbicides used. Keith has also been an early adopter of precision agriculture technologies such as variable-rate lime and fertilizer application, field mapping, and GPS equipment guidance for field operations.
The Campbells hope to pass down their rich farming heritage to their children and future generations to come. It is a great honor to have them represent Santa Rosa County agriculture in 2013.