Sponsored by John Deere, annual award recognizes conservation innovation for precision ag
Quail Forever’s 2022/2023 Precision Farmer of the Year Award, sponsored by John Deere, is presented to Mr. Jimmy Bryan of West Point, Mississippi. The annual award recognizes the innovative use of precision ag technology and utilization of data to identify profitable solutions for agriculture and wildlife on working lands throughout America.
Located in the historic Black Belt region of the Southeast, Mr. Jimmy Bryan operates Prairie Wildlife, a 5,000-acre estate in a region rich with agriculture, wildlife, and a famed history of bobwhite quail hunting. Since the turn of the century, Bryan has been working in partnership with university researchers and professional field biologists to address the notable decline of bobwhite quail he’s witnessed throughout his property with a high level of success.
“At one time we did nothing for quail,” Bryan said. “It was a natural habitat and the birds were here, and they co-existed with land practices. Working closely with Dr. Wes Burger of Mississippi State University, we came to the realization that the grazing and farming methods we had in place created a landscape void of quail habitat, so naturally there weren’t many quail left. In the past two decades, we’ve systematically moved across the property addressing resource concerns while restoring nesting and brood cover for our quail populations.”
Prairie Wildlife has implemented many different conservation projects in conjunction with agriculture to maximize benefits for crops, cattle, and wildlife – particularly for quail. In addition to riparian work throughout the property, Bryan focused heavily on conversion of fescue and bermudagrass to more quail-friendly native species. Additionally, Prairie Wildlife hosts conservation workshops focused on quail management, including the annual “Bobwhite Boot Camp,” a training session for private lands biologists to gain knowledge about managing for bobwhites in working landscapes.
“John Deere has partnered with Quail Forever to recognize the Farmer of the Year because we believe in the mission of Quail Forever,” said Jason Tucker, manager, US sales western region for John Deere. “We also believe, with John Deere technology and scientific farming practices, farming can be both economically and environmentally friendly. Jimmy Bryan’s willingness to adapt and adopt new methods of scientific farming and research has played a pivotal role in his success at managing his property for quail.”
“What has always impressed me about Mr. Jimmy is his openness to new ideas and his constant work to make improvements on his property for bobwhite quail,” said John Mark Curtis, senior Farm Bill biologist for Quail Forever. “Mr. Jimmy undoubtedly knows more about quail management than any other landowner I work with, but even so, he’s always interested in hearing out suggestions for conservation planning. That's an incredibly rare quality for a landowner to possess, a major part of his success in restoring quail populations, and one of the reasons he is so deserving of this award.”
Thank you to national sponsor John Deere for supporting the conservation work of farmers and ranchers throughout the quail and pheasant range.