Jerry Dakin of Manatee County has received a prestigious honor for his business success and contributions to his community. Dakin was named Florida’s 2022 Farmer of the Year at the Florida Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting in Orlando on Oct. 28.
As one of the last standing family-owned dairy farms in Manatee County, Dakin Dairy Farms puts sustainability first by recycling and reusing natural resources on the farm. Cows are grass-fed ensuring that the right amount of nutrients and vitamins are consumed, resulting in healthy milk for the consumer.
Dakin and his family bottle milk on the farm and have a market open to the public that offers souvenirs and fresh dairy products including flavored milk, cream and cheese curds. Farm tours can also be scheduled to learn about the process of cow to bottle.
As the Florida Farmer of the Year, Dakin will help advocate for Florida farmers and ranchers on important policy issues and educate the public on the importance of agriculture.
Florida Farm Bureau District Supervisor Andy Neuhofer nominated Dakin for his innovation in farming and his sound business sense. “Dakin is an entrepreneur who has a passion for agriculture and telling its story. He has diversified his farm so that he can sell his product directly to the consumer, while educating the general public about farming and its importance to the community.”
Dakin has served on the Manatee County Farm Bureau board since 2001, and has been a member of Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association since 2004. In 2020, he was inducted into the Manatee County Ag Hall of Fame.
His name will also be submitted to the Swisher Sunbelt Ag Expo Florida Farmer of the Year competition held at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Ga., October 2022. Ten states participate in the program: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.