Sedley farm couple wins national honor, pickup truck

Published 10:54 am Saturday, January 15, 2011

SEDLEY—Jennie Simms grew up a city girl whose parents didn’t favor her driving a truck.

Chris and Jennie Simms of Sedley hold their plaque for receiving the Young Farmers Excellence in Agriculture Award from the Virginia Farm Bureau. The couple this week won the Excellence in Agriculture Award during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 92nd Annual Meeting in Atlanta. Their top prize: a new Dodge pickup.

On Tuesday, the 35-year-old Sedley woman got her truck.

Simms and her husband, Chris, were awarded a 2011 Ram 1500 pickup from Dodge after receiving the Excellence in Agriculture Award during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 92nd Annual Meeting in Atlanta.

“We’re still wondering if it’s real,” Jennie Simms said. “When you hear your name called, (I said to myself), ‘Did they really just say that?’”

“We were in shock,” her husband added. “It still hasn’t fully sunk in. It’s an honor to have won. It represents the state of Virginia and the Young Farmer program.”

The couple, who lives on the farm where 34-year-old Chris Simms grew up, was joined in Atlanta by young farmers from across the country who competed for the awards by demonstrating knowledge of and achievement in agriculture and promoting the agriculture industry.

The Simmses qualified for the national competition after winning this year’s Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers Excellence in Agriculture Award.

Chris Simms has been employed by Colonial Farm Credit for 11 years and is a relationships manager in the organization’s commercial loan group. He previously served as young farmer liaison and is pursuing a master’s degree in agribusiness at Kansas State University. Chris Simms is a past vice chairman of the VFBF Young Farmers Committee.

Jennie Simms, who grew up in Winston-Salem, N.C., has held administrative positions for Smithfield Foods.

The couple is active in the community and on the VFBF Young Farmers Committee. They also have an agricultural blog,, and have developed a series of geocaches called AgCache for the purpose of promoting Virginia agriculture.

For the state award, the Simmses received $500 courtesy of Dodge, a new chain saw courtesy of Stihl and up to 200 hours’ use of a Kubota utility vehicle.

“We made a deal before the state competition,” Chris Simms said. “I got the Kubota for winning the state, and she got the Dodge when we won the national (award). She proudly tells everyone that this is her new truck.”

“For 17 years, I have wanted a truck,” Jennie Simms added.

The couple will receive a voucher from Dodge and will pick out a truck to replace Jennie’s 2001 Honda CRV, which has more than 200,000 miles.

They both agree the truck will be red.

“That’s for North Carolina State, where both us graduated from and met,” Chris Simms said. “We still enjoy going there for football games.”