Michael “Mike” H. McDowell, owner of Locust Level Farm in Vernon Hill, was named Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year in October. He received his grand prize for the national award at his farm on Tuesday morning — the use of a Massey Ferguson 5711 for one year. The tractor will help McDowell with his daily chores around the farm, such as baling hay. McDowell and his wife, Wanda, raise Angus cattle on their farm, which has been in the McDowell family for more than 100 years. He has implemented new techniques for producing purebreds for commercial herds. McDowell was chosen as Farmer of the Year over nine other state winners who were finalists for the award. Winners are selected based on several criteria, including community involvement, philanthropic involvement, finances and their five-year plan for their farm.