Craig Bishop has a different story than many traditional farmers, since he was not raised on a farm. Craig attended Grand Ridge High School, graduated in 1985 and attended Chipola College where he received an A.A. degree in Business. It was not until 1992 that Bishop began his farming operation. His first year of farming, he grew 17 acres of peanuts on halves with another local farmer. The next year Bishop increased his acreage and grew cotton and peanuts. Every year he was able to double his acreage until he was farming about 2,500 acres. Currently Bishop Farms manages 6,000 acres of peanuts, cotton, corn, and soybeans.
Bishop grew 800 acres of corn this year with great success. His official top yield was 256 bushels per acre from the Pioneer 2023HR hybrid variety, but he also made excellent yields with Dekalb 6469 and 6209. Bishop averaged 237 bushels per acre across all 800 acres.
This is only his second year ever growing corn, with the first year back in 2008. Bishop learned a valuable lesson about growing corn in 2008 when Tropical Storm Fay was coming and he had no way to harvest the corn or any place to store it. Almost his entire crop was laid down by the storm. He realized at that point that if he was going to grow corn he would need his own combine and grain bins. This year, Bishop picked corn with his own combine, added a grain drying and storing infrastructure that will dry 1,200 bushels of corn per hour, and store up to 105,000 bushels.
Bishop credits new technology and innovation for the increase in modern corn yields. These innovations include, new high yielding varieties, variable rate application of fertilizers, and twin row planting. Bishop credits his personal success this year as “a blessing from the Good Lord.”
Craig Bishop has been married to Kim for 17 years, and they have three children Marcus, Caroline and Emily.
The Corn Farmer of the Year Award is based on standardized yield checks provided by the Jackson County Extension Service.