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Alabama Family Wins 2012 National Small Farmer Award


Snells receive National 2012 Small Farmer Award
(l-r) Lloyd Wright presents Earl and Charisse Snell with the 2012 National Lloyd W. Wright Small Farmer of the Year award.

AUBURN, Ala., Feb. 22, 2013

Earl and Charisse Snell of Dale County won the National Lloyd Wright Small Farmer Award during the 2012 National Organization of Professional Black Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Employees (NOPBNRCSE) Outreach and Ag Education Expo in Jackson, Mississippi. 

Wright, founder of the NOPBNRCSE and namesake of the award, presented the winners with an engraved silver bowl. 

The Snells received the Alabama NRCS’s 2011 Small Farmer of the Year award for their environmental stewardship, innovations, and community leadership.  As a state winner, they were eligible to compete for the national award given at the NOPBNRCSE meeting. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture featured the Snell family in a video highlighting seasonal high tunnels or hoop houses, as they are sometimes called.  The video was part of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative which connects farmers and consumers and promotes the purchase of fresh, local food.  The Snell’s hoop house operation added many benefits to the land including energy reduction, increased water quality (with reductions in pesticides and nutrient inputs and outputs), and improved soil quality.  The practice helped them extend their growing season.

Earl is currently the Market Manager of the Farmers Market in Ozark, Alabama. The Snells also participate in Alabama’s "Buy Fresh - Buy Local" Initiative, providing vegetables to:

  • seven high schools

  • two recreational departments

  • local farmers markets

  • grocery stores

  • senior citizens groups

  • low income communities

  • local events and restaurants

“We could have never achieved this goal without the education, help, and technical assistance we received from NRCS,” said Snell.

“The Snells are pioneers in the field,” said NRCS State Conservationist Dr. William Puckett, “they were the first farmers in Dale County to construct a seasonal high tunnel and they have been instrumental in adopting and promoting this technology in the area.”

If you are interested in receiving information about NRCS Farm Bill programs, contact your local NRCS or Farm Service Agency office listed in the telephone directory under U.S. Department of Agriculture or on-line at