He protects the environment by using conservation-tillage and planting trees in buffer strips along a creek. The buffer cost-share funds allowed him to build new fencing to keep cattle away from the creek.

One big challenge is finding land to farm. He has lost land to utility easements and to other renters who outbid him. He lost more than a thousand acres of rented land planted to trees during the past 10 years.

“Urban sprawl is a problem where I farm 25 miles from Jackson and 15 miles from Vicksburg,” he explains. “We’ve lost land to urban development, recreation, hunting and tree planting. We’re trying to become less dependent on rented land. We’re looking to buy land because long-term leases are hard to come by.” 

Cannada is a member of farm and community organizations. He’s active in Edwards Presbyterian Church and both Hinds County and Mississippi Farm Bureau. He serves on the Farm Services Agency County Committee.

As a cotton grower, he was active in boll weevil eradication and sat on the board of a local cotton gin. He has been president of the Hinds County Cattlemen’s Association and is active in the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association.

He and his wife Lesley have two young daughters, Haley and Hayden. Lesley is a long distance runner. She worked in a medical clinic until their children were born.

She has been active in Farm Bureau with the Women’s Committee and the Young Farmer and Rancher program. She also is active in Junior League of Jackson and the Down Syndrome Society. “Now she works at home raising our children,” says Cannada.

“At some point, Lesley will relieve my mom in keeping books and handling accounting for the farm.”

“I’ve been fortunate to be a farmer,” he says. “All my income is from farming. My goal is to own more land and become less dependent on leased property. As I increase acreage, I also hope to increase grain storage capacity on the farm.”

Joe Street with the Mississippi State University Cooperative Extension Service is state coordinator for the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year awards. Theresa Hand, Extension director in Hinds County, nominated Cannada for the award.

Hand says, “Scott is an outstanding producer and leader, an excellent steward of natural resources. He’s active in Extension programs. He has done television commercials on behalf of Mississippi farm families, and he goes above and beyond what is normally expected.”

As Mississippi winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo award, Cannada will now receive a $2,500 cash award and an expense paid trip to the Sunbelt Expo from Swisher International of Jacksonville, Fla., a jacket and a $200 gift certificate from the Williamson-Dickie Company, and a $500 gift certificate from Southern States.