Matt Mason, farmer of the year

Shown here is Athens Area Chamber of Commerce Farmer of the Year Matt Mason.

A longtime family business has led to a local man being honored.

Matt Mason, who owns a century farm and has a long family history of farming in McMinn County, was named the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce’s Farmer of the Year last week.

“It is an honor,” Mason said. “Looking at the long list of past recipients, there are a lot of people that are very highly qualified people and to be added to that list — which includes my father and grandfather — it is a great honor.”

Mason stated both the title and the county mean a lot to him.

“McMinn County is a great place to live and a great place to conduct business,” he expressed. “My family has been natives to McMinn County since 1902 and farming is part of our heritage and it means a lot that farmers are recognized. It means a lot to me to be a part of this community and conduct our business and actually selling our product right here in McMinn County.”

Mason is the fifth generation farmer of his family.

“My family has been engaged in farming for many years and it was a part of the way I was raised,” he stated.

He believes farming has taught him some valuable life lessons.

“Farming will humble you very quickly,” Mason said. “It teaches you a lot about aspects of life in general, how to treat the land and that you reap what you sow ... Farming relates a lot to life.”

Mason holds a degree in agriculture that he acquired while attending college in Kentucky.

In addition to farming, Mason also works at SouthEast Bank.

He is married to his wife, Sallie Mason, and they have two children — Riley Mason and Allie Mason.

His hobbies consist of golfing, hunting and fishing.

“I am very grateful to be recognized as farmer of the year and being part of a great tradition,” Mason expressed.

“I am very grateful to be in McMinn County and love what I do in both banking and farming. I’m just grateful to have the opportunity to do what I love.”

Mason’s farm is in the Mt. Harmony community and it has been in place since 1902.

“His ancestors started bottling milk and delivering it door to door,” McMinn County UT Extension Agent Tim Woods said when presenting the award. “He’s the fifth of six generations to farm the family dairy.”

Mason also showed Holstein cows in 4-H until he was 18.

Email shane.duncan@

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