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July 30, 2010   Email to Friend 

Plans finalized for Commodity Conference

Farmers from throughout the state will have the opportunity to tour some of the top research facilities and farms in the southeast when they attend the Alabama Farmers Federation Commodity Producers Conference Aug. 5-7 in Columbus, Ga.

A banquet Thursday evening will formally kickoff the 38th annual event, which is expected to attract more than 600 Alabama farmers.

Friday will be filled with five different tours that will take farmers to destinations such as Callaway Gardens and Auburn University's research facilities.

Saturday, farmers may select three, hour-long seminars covering nine different topics that include feral hogs, on-farm storage of agricultural chemicals, animal welfare and farmland protection. A general session entitled "Rules of the Road" will be conducted by officials from the Alabama Department of Public Safety, Department of Transportation and Department of Revenue.

Saturday from 5:30-6:30 p.m., members are invited to attend a reception for candidates endorsed by the Federation.

The closing banquet immediately follows the reception. Entertainment for both banquets is sponsored by Alfa Health, Alfa Dental and the Swisher/International Sunbelt Ag Expo.

Farm PAC selects endorsements for November elections

From left, Farm PAC Chairman Steve Dunn, Republican attorney general candidate Luther Strange and Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry Newby discuss the upcoming election following last week's Farm PAC Advisory Trustee meeting in Montgomery.
The political action committee of the Alabama Farmers Federation (Farm PAC) has announced its endorsements of candidates for the Nov. 2 general election.

Farm PAC Advisory Trustees, who are farmers from throughout the state, met July 21 at the Federation headquarters in Montgomery. The Farm PAC executive committee approved the recommendations of the Farm PAC Committee at its meeting Monday.

Several candidates seeking the Federation's endorsement spoke before the committee and answered questions from members prior to the committee's endorsement recommendations. Candidates were not endorsed in every race.

Candidates who received endorsements were:

• U.S. Representative, District 5 - Steve Raby
• U.S. Representative, District 7 - Terri Sewell
• Lt. Governor - Kay Ivey
• Secretary of State - Beth Chapman
• State Auditor - Sam Shaw
• State Treasurer - Young Boozer
• Attorney General - Luther Strange
• Public Service Commission, Place 1 - Jan Cook
• Public Service Commission, Place 2 - Susan Parker
• Commissioner of Agriculture & Industries - John McMillan

Earlier this year, the Farm-PAC Trustees made endorsements in the following races:

• U.S. Senator - Richard Shelby
• U.S. Representative, District 1 - Jo Bonner
• U.S. Representative, District 2 - Bobby Bright
• U.S. Representative, District 3 - Mike Rogers
• U.S. Representative, District 4 - Robert Aderholt
• U.S. Representative, District 6 - Spencer Bachus
• Supreme Court Justice, Place 1 - Kelli Wise
• Supreme Court Justice, Place 2 - Mike Bolin
• Supreme Court Justice, Place 3 - Tom Parker
• Court of Civil Appeals Judge - Tommy Bryan

All endorsements, including those for state legislative races, will be listed in Neighbors and Friends & Family magazines prior to the Nov. 2 election.

Catfish farmers urge implementation of 2008 Farm Bill

Alabama Farmers Federation Catfish Division Director Mitt Walker, left, visits with U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., at a recent catfish fry on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Walker joined other catfish industry leaders on the trip to urge implementation of the 2008 Farm Bill placing catfish inspection under USDA. Lincoln is chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee.
Catfish Farmers of America organized a legislative trip to Washington, D.C., July 21-22 to focus attention on USDA's failure to implement a provision in the 2008 Farm Bill that changes inspection of farm-raised catfish. The change has been stalled in the Office of Management and Budget.

Alabama Farmers Federation Catfish Division Director Mitt Walker was among those attending the meeting. He said catfish inspection historically was handled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Commerce, but the 2008 Farm Bill designated that responsibility to USDA.

"Beef and chicken, because they are farm-raised products, already are inspected by USDA," Walker said. "Catfish farmers believe they should be treated the same way."

Catfish farmers and industry supporters made several visits to Capitol Hill during their recent trip, which was highlighted by a catfish fry luncheon.

Meetings were held with staff from the offices of U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. The honorary speaker for the catfish fry was U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., Chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. A number of other senators and congressmen from the Southeast co-hosted the event, including U.S. Rep. Bobby Bright, D-Ala. More than 200 staffers and others attended the catfish fry.

Clay County Annual Meeting

Alabama Farmers Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan, left, recently attended the Clay County Farmers Federation Annual Meeting. He is pictured here talking with Clay County Farmers Federation President Lamar Dewberry and County Federation Members Sally and Richard Runyan of Millerville.

Peanut growers attend 12th annual conference

The Southern Peanut Growers Conference, held July 22-24, 2010, at the Edgewater Beach Resort in Panama City Beach, Fla., offered farmers an opportunity to learn more about legislative issues, peanut research and promotions.

General session topics included: Marketing from the Manufacturer's Viewpoint; An Industry That Feeds the World; Research and Production Issues; and Peanuts and Politics. About 500 growers and industry representatives attended the 12th annual event that attracted farmers from Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida.

For more on the conference visit www.southernpeanutfarmers.org.

Young farmers learn advocacy skills at summer conference

TOP PHOTO: Alabama Farmers Federation Young Farmers Director Brandon Moore, left, and Young Farmers State Committee Chairman Jeff Maze, right, congratulate Excellence in Agriculture Contest runner-up Kelly Pritchett of Pike County and contest winner Kirk Smith of Blount County. Smith will receive $500 from Dodge and $500 from the Farmers Federation. He will give his presentation at the Federation's Annual Meeting in December and will represent Alabama at the American Farm Bureau Federation's 2011 Excellence in Agriculture contest in Atlanta. BOTTOM PHOTO: The final four in the Young Farmers Discussion Meet are Josh Turner of DeKalb County, Mike Dole of St. Clair County, Katie Hines of Madison County, and Allie Corcoran of Barbour County. These contestants will compete at the Federation's Annual Meeting in Mobile in December, where the winner will go on to represent Alabama at the American Farm Bureau Federation's 2011 Discussion Meet in Atlanta.
Preparing farmers to be advocates for their industry and way of life was the theme when more than 125 Alabama Farmers Federation members gathered in Montgomery July 23-24 for the inaugural Alabama Young Farmers Summer Conference.

The conference began Friday evening with a reception honoring the six finalists in the Outstanding Young Farm Family competition. Federation President Jerry Newby welcomed the participants prior to a keynote address by South Dakota farmers Troy and Stacy Hadrick.

Saturday's agenda included a presentation on broadband internet access in Alabama and an update on Federation legislative and political activities.

The Young Farmers Excellence in Agriculture Contest and Discussion Meet also were held at the conference.

The keynote speakers and workshops during the 2010 Alabama Young Farmers Summer Conference were sponsored by First South Farm Credit.


Darrell Gene "Shug" McHugh, a member of the Cherokee County Farmers Federation Board of Directors for 46 years, died July 17. He was 79.

McHugh was a member of Ebenezer United Methodist Church. He was a cattle farmer and for several years was a salesman for Garrett Tractor Co. He loved gardening and working on his farm. He was a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War.

Survivors include his wife, Faye Jean Bankson McHugh; a daughter, Nina (Gene) Walker of Centre; a grandson, Cameron Graham of Centre; a brother and sister-in-law, Jerry and Faye McHugh of Centre, a sister and brother-in-law, Willadean and Ferrell Langston of Centre; and several nieces and nephews.

William "Will" Battle Peebles Jr., a member of the Pickens County Farmers Federation Board of Directors, died May 28. He was 86.

In addition to farming and raising cattle, he was a member of the Aliceville First United Methodist Church where he served in several leadership positions. He was a past president of the Pickens County Cattlemen's Association and a member of civic and cultural organizations. He served on the board of directors for Pickens Academy, Pickens County Hospital and First South PCA. He was chairman of the board of Tri-County Cooperative and was Aliceville's Citizen of the Year in 1977.

Survivors include his wife Sara Ann Wood Peebles, Aliceville; daughters Jerri Ann (Michael) McCreless, Tuscaloosa, Sarah (Ricky) Johnson, Celeste (Kenny) Hankins and Virginia (Mike) Latham, all of Aliceville; nine grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. Memorial donations may be made to Aliceville First United Methodist Church, Old Bethany Cemetery Perpetual Care Fund or Franconia Oak Grove Cemetery.

Mickey Childers elected DFA Southeast Area Council chairman

Mickey Childers of Somerville has been elected chairman of Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.'s (DFA) Southeast Area Council.

Childers, who operates a large dairy in Morgan County, has held numerous leadership positions within the Alabama Farmers Federation, including a former term as chairman of the Federation's State Dairy Committee.

Childers is vice chairman of the DFA's Board of Directors and serves as chairman of the board's Audit Committee. He also serves as president of the American Dairy Association of Alabama and vice president of the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association Board of Directors.

"It has been a privilege and honor to represent my fellow dairy farmers as a member of the Southeast Area Council," said Childers, who milks 700 cows in partnership with his two sons and father-in-law on a fourth-generation dairy farm.

Legislative Council votes to stop tax increase

The State Legislative Council met last week and voted to reject a rule change proposed by the Alabama Department of Revenue that would have cost Alabama businesses millions of dollars annually. The council consists of 30 legislators, the speaker of the House of Representatives and the lieutenant governor.

The proposed business privilege tax would have assessed businesses on their net worth. Traditionally, companies doing business in the state were allowed to deduct from their net worth the value of equity they hold in other companies operating in Alabama, reducing the total tax they paid and preventing double taxation of a business' net worth.

The Alabama Department of Revenue had proposed a rule that eliminated the deduction.

The council's vote didn't kill the rule. The full Legislature in next year's regular session would have to pass a resolution upholding the council's decision. Sen. Wendell Mitchell, D-Luverne, who serves on the Legislative Council, made the motion to reject the rule, which was unanimously approved by council members present for the meeting.

All the committee members who were present voted against the tax increase. They were Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom; Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville (council chairman); Sens. Lowell Barron, D-Fyffe; Vivian Figures, D-Mobile; Steve French, R-Birmingham; Ted Little, D-Auburn; Zeb Little, D-Cullman; Larry Means, D-Attalla; Hank Sanders, D-Selma; Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham; and Jabo Waggoner, R-Birmingham; Reps. Bill Dukes, D-Decatur; Blaine Galliher, R-Rainbow City; Victor Gaston, R-Mobile; Betty Carol Graham, D-Alexander City; Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery; Demetrius Newton, D-Birmingham; Oliver Robinson, D-Birmingham; and Terry Spicer, D-Elba.

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