SBA Honors Nation’s Best Small Businesses

Will Harris III of Georgia will join Other State Winners in Washington D.C. During National Small Business Week

WASHINGTON – Will Harris III, Georgia’s 2011 Small Business Person of the Year, is among the nation’s top entrepreneurs who will be honored at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week events May 18-20 in Washington, D.C.  Under the theme, “Empowering Entrepreneurs,” a series of events and educational forums will mark the 58th anniversary of the agency and the 48th annual proclamation of National Small Business Week.

Harris is owner and president of White Oak Pastures, one of the largest producers of organic, grass-fed beef in the country. Harris has taken his family farm in Early County, Georgia, passed down over five generations, and coupled it with modern technology to meet the growing demand for grass-fed beef.

Today, White Oak Pastures has 40 non-family employees and is the largest certified organic farm in Georgia. Its grass-fed beef is available in Whole Food Market stores as well as Publix Supermarkets in five states.

As one of only two, on-farm USDA inspected grass-fed plants in the country, White Oak Pastures was already distinctive. But it became even more so with the installation last year of the largest solar barn in the Southeast. This facility has 50,000 watts of capacity and turns sunlight directly into energy for the beef processing plant.

A few months ago, Harris broke ground for a new USDA-inspected poultry plant to process his other free-range chickens and turkeys. This facility, also housed on his farm, is expected to be operational in August of this year and initially employ about 25 people.

The three-day Small Business Week event in Washington, D.C., will take place at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.  Events can be viewed virtually through SBA’s free, live webcasting, which will be accessible at http://www.nationalsmallbusinessweek.com/.