Transcribed from accompanying press release: For immediate release; Hertford County Farmer Wins Corn Champions (Photo available upon request): Persistence has paid off for Hertford County farmer Billy Gilliam. After coming close for several years, he has finally won a state corn growing championship. Gilliam beat 300 other farmer contestants by harvesting 229 bushels from a contest acre. The averaged state yield in droughty 1987 was 62 bushels per acre. The champ attributes his success to "good management, good soil, good fertilizer and good seed, and plenty of water in a dry year." He irrigated most of his 200-acre crop as well as his contest acre. Gillam, who farms near Harrellsville with this father, W. B. Gillam, said he has also benefitted over the years from assistance provided by seed companies, the N. C. Agricultural Extension Service and the N. C. Department of Agriculture. He won the championship by planting the Pioneer 3320 variety in 36-inch rows at a rate sufficient to give him 29,000 plants per acre. He fertilized at the rate of 200 pounds of nitrogen, 60 pounds of phosphorus and 120 pounds of potash per acre. The annual corn contest is conducted by the Agricultural Extension Service to encourage improved production practices. Assisting with the contest is the Corn Growers Association of North Carolina, at whose annual meeting the winners are recognized.