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Farm Bureau honors Southampton County couple

May 2024

by Gregg MacDonald, Staff Writer

Jeannette and M.L. Everett

Community Electric Cooperative Board of Directors Chairman Jeannette Everett and her husband, M.L., recently made history.

The couple is the first ever to receive the Distinguished Service to Virginia Farm Bureau Award together — as a husband-and-wife team.

Initiated in 1966, the award was originally established to honor individuals who have demonstrated exceptional service to advancing statewide agriculture and the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.

For close to 60 years, it has been given annually to one individual, but late last year at the Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in Virginia Beach, that ongoing tradition changed.

“It was a total surprise,” says Jeannette Everett, “We were both at the convention and they just announced it out of the blue, and then brought our children out. We didn’t even know they were there. The tears flowed a little that night.”

The Everetts live in Southampton County, where they have built a legacy as public servants and advocates for agriculture. Longtime friends and colleagues say they lead by example, are true to their word, sustain an immaculate farm operation, and are committed to conservation practices.


Their 2,000-acre farmland produces peanuts, cotton, wheat, corn, timber and soybeans. “My husband is a 4th-generation farmer, and our son Lewis, and nephew Trevor, are now the 5th generation,” Everett says.

In addition to working the land, the Everetts also serve in a leadership capacity on several Farm Bureau committees and boards. Jeannette Everett shares her talents with the VFBF Women’s Leadership Committee — both statewide and on the county level. “She’s known as a quiet worker, seeing projects through to the end,” says Faye Hundley, VFBF Women’s Leadership Committee chair.

In addition, she has been assisting local fire departments and rescue squads in mapping 911 addresses for every farm in Southampton County for the last four years, served as deputy of the Southampton commissioner of the revenue, and currently chairs the Community Electric Cooperative Board of Directors.

“Jeannette’s leadership is unparalleled and her institutional knowledge of the cooperative, along with her exercising sound wisdom and professionalism, is astounding. Additionally, her commitment to the community is just as impressive,” says CEC CEO Steven A. Harmon. “Her dedication through both CEC and various other community organizations spans several decades and has made a tremendous positive impact that should certainly be celebrated.”


Jeannette’s husband, M.L., sits on the Southampton County Farm Bureau board and recently retired from the Farm Bureau state board of directors after serving for nearly 17 years. It’s a distinction he shares with his late father, as both held a state Farm Bureau board and county Farm Bureau president seat.

M.L. also currently serves on the boards of the Virginia Peanut Growers Marketing Association and the Chowan Basin Soil and Water Conservation District. He also serves on the VFBF Peanut Advisory and Cotton Advisory committees, and the State Fair of Virginia Youth Development Board.

“One of our neighbors recently told us we were just about the busiest people she’d ever known, sun up to sun down,” Jeannette Everett says with a chuckle.

And as if to bring that point home, Everett says this month the couple is looking at planting 400 acres of peanuts, 1,000 acres of cotton, 600 acres of soybeans, 300 acres of corn and 250 acres of wheat. “Farming is a real business that takes real work,” she states. “The trick is balancing farm work with church, volunteering and serving in the co-op world, all together.”