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August 27, 2010   Email to Friend 

New Alfa commercials hit the airwaves

Alfa Insurance launched a new advertising campaign last week that supports the company's renewed commitment to provide unmatched personalized service at competitive rates.

The "Right there with you" campaign builds on Alfa's outstanding claims service, its connection to the community, the relationship between Alfa agents and their policyholders and the value of Alfa policies. In addition, the radio and television advertisements remind customers to "call Alfa," which research shows remains synonymous with the Alfa brand.

"Our goals for the advertising campaign were to develop commercials that were based on solid research, utilized the financial resources of the company in a responsible way and were true to the Alfa brand," said Jeff Helms, director of public relations and communications. "The television spots are the result of a year-long process that involved surveys, a competitive landscape analysis, focus groups, agent interviews and a competitive bid process."

The spots were produced by Birmingham-based Luckie and Company under the direction of the Federation's Creative Consultants Inc., and Alfa's Marketing Services Department. By taking advantage of in-house research and creative capabilities, Alfa was able to reduce production costs and reallocate those funds to media placement.

"The campaign builds on Alfa's reputation for providing exceptional customer service," said Carol Golsan, senior vice president of Marketing Services. "The commercials show situations where agents are responsive to policyholders and reminds them Alfa will be right there with you."

Reimbursement available for scrapies testing costs

Alabama sheep farmers are eligible for assistance from SDA's Scrapie Surveillance Project. Dr. Cindy Brasfield, a scrapie epidemilogist with the Montgomery office of the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said a $75 reimbursement is available for carcass disposal of any blackface or mottle-faced wool sheep 14 months or older that dies on a farm if samples are collected for scrapie testing.

For information about the project, contact Brasfield at (334) 657-5549 or email cynthia.m.brasfield@aphis.usda.gov.

Women's Communications Boot Camp trains future leaders

Sally Leavelle of Tuscaloosa County, center, accepts her certificate of recognition for attending the boot camp from AFBF President Bob Stallman and AFBF Women's Leadership Committee Chairman Terry Gilbert.
For Sally Leavelle the rolling hills of west Tuscaloosa County where she and her husband Clyde raise soybeans, hay and cattle are a long way from her home state of New Jersey. But after years of living on the farm, the former "city girl" feels more prepared than ever to share agriculture's story with city folks.

The tools to achieve that accomplishment were handed out in heaping portions during the American Farm Bureau's Women's Communications Boot Camp, July 27-30 at AFBF headquarters in Washington, D.C. Her trip was sponsored by the Tuscaloosa County Farmers Federation. Only 16 applicants from throughout the country were accepted for this year's camp, and Leavelle said she was honored to attend.

"We covered a lot of ground in a short period of time," Leavelle said. "We learned how to give speeches, work with the media and how to use social media to help tell agriculture's tory. We also learned about the importance of being politically active, such as running for office or encouraging qualified candidates to seek public office, and we learned about giving testimony about legislation that affects farmers."

Leavelle, who had been interviewed by print and broadcast reporters in the past, said what she learned at the camp will help make her more prepared for future interviews.

"I learned things to help me approach the media about a story, not just waiting for a story to react to something," she said. "I would highly recommend that anyone interested in agriculture attend this program. We've got to do a better job of telling our story."

Egg recalls have little effect on Alabama

The recent recall of more than a half billion eggs from an Iowa production facility is serious, but needs to be kept in perspective, said Alabama Farmers Federation Poultry Division Director Guy Hall.

"The recall represents less than 1 percent of the eggs produced in the United States," Hall said, "and none of the tainted eggs have been reported in Alabama."

Nearly 2,000 people have been sickened by salmonella linked to eggs in recent months, and the number is likely to rise, authorities say.

Poultry is Alabama's leading industry and the state ranks third in the nation in broiler production. Poultry has cash receipts of more than $2.9 billion per year in the state, but table eggs make up a small portion of that, Hall said.

"Consumers should use proper care any time raw foods are handled," Hall said, adding that if eggs are cooked thoroughly, they are a very safe, affordable and nutritious source of protein in a balanced diet.

Eggs affected by this recall were distributed to food wholesalers, distribution centers and food service companies in California, Illinois, Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. These companies distribute nationwide. "Farmers are doing their part, too," Hall said. "They have been employing tougher food safety measures to help protect against food-borne illness."

Those practices include the use of modern, sanitary housing systems; stringent rodent and bio-security controls; inoculation against salmonella; cleaning and sanitization of poultry houses and farms; and testing.

For information on proper handling and preparation of eggs and answers to other frequently asked questions, visit www.eggsafety.org.

Ag Deans Meet

Deans of Alabama's three land grant universities met at the Alabama Farmers Federation headquarters in Montgomery Tuesday where they discussed research projects and funding. From left are Alabama Farmers Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan, Auburn Ag Dean Dr. William Batchelor, Alabama A&M University Ag Dean Dr. Robert W. Taylor , Federation President Jerry Newby and Tuskegee University Ag Dean Dr. Walter Hill.

Tuscaloosa County Meeting

Alabama Farmers Federation State Board Member Pat Buck, left, chats with Tuscaloosa County Farmers Federation President and State Board Member John E. Walker III, Tuscaloosa County Women's Leadership Committee Chairman Peggy Walker and County Board Member Floyd Hughes following Tuscaloosa County's Annual Meeting Aug. 19 in Tuscaloosa.

America's Heartland kicks off new season

America's Heartland, the only nationally distributed program on agriculture in America, kicks off season six with new stories and features demonstrating the importance of American agriculture to our nation and the world.

The new season begins Sept. 6 on 230 PBS stations and on RFD-TV. New features for season six include Farm to Fork, where celebrity chef Dave Lieberman travels the heartland seeking out fresh farm products and creates tasty dishes viewers can try at home.

Another segment of the show is Fast Facts about Food. It delivers surprising and informative nutritional information, helping consumers learn more about antioxidants, fiber and vitamins. The American Farm Bureau Federation is a major sponsor of the show.

Coosa County Meeting

State Board Member and Elmore County President Richard Edgar, center, and wife Becky were guests at the recent Coosa County Farmers Federation Annual Meeting. The Edgars are pictured with Coosa County Board Member Ricky Caldwell.

Alfa scholarship deadline is Dec. 1

Students planning to pursue degrees in agriculture or forestry at Auburn University have until Dec. 1 to apply for Alabama Farmers Federation/Alfa scholarships.

The scholarships of up to $1,750 per student, per year are awarded to students who plan to enroll or are currently enrolled in AU's College of Agriculture or School of Forestry or who are majoring in agricultural engineering or ag education. The scholarships are renewable yearly to students who maintain a 2.5 grade point average and exhibit good moral character and citizenship.

Students are urged to apply early for admission because enrollment at Auburn University is limited. Applications are available from the university and online at www.auburn.edu or www.AlfaFarmers.org.

Scholarship applications are available in all county Farmers Federation offices, local Alfa service centers or by writing to the dean of the College of Agriculture at Auburn University, 107 Comer Hall, Auburn University, AL 36849.

Farm Judging

Judging for the Southeastern Farmer of the Year was held recently and judges for the competition visited Alabama's Farm of Distinction owned by Shep and Rite Morris of Shorter in Macon County. The winner of the regional contest will be announced during the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo in Moultrie, Ga., Oct. 19-21. During their stop in Alabama, Morris showed judges his soybean crop as well as other areas of his farm. From left are, Morris and judges James Lee Adams, Jim Bone and Charles Ed Snipes.

Farm Safety Training

Alabama Farmers Federation Young Farmers Director Brandon Moore demonstrates the use of a slip clutch on a cotton picker during a recent farm equipment extrication demonstration in Cherokee County. The event was sponsored by the Cherokee County Young Farmers Committee and was attended by seven volunteer fire department rescue crews.

Beef Tour registration deadline is Aug. 31

Time is running out to register for the Alabama Farmers Federation's 2010 "Show Me" Beef Tour to Missouri on Sept. 19-25, says Nate Jaeger, director of the Federation's Beef, Equine and Hay & Forage Divisions.

The registration deadline is Tuesday, Aug. 31, and the tour is limited to the first 50 registrants.

"This year we are visiting the third-largest beef cow state in the nation," said Jaeger. "Missouri is home to some great farms and ranches, and we are going to visit several that are unlike any you have seen before - farms like the Meir Dairy that utilizes a New Zealand-style intensive management rotational grazing system, a bull test station that measures its feed by the gram and a 5,000-head feed yard that has zero run-off."

Jaeger said the tour would also take in the scenic beauty of Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks as well as Branson's celebrated entertainment fare.

The tour will fly into Springfield, Mo., for a one-night stay before boarding a bus the next morning, Sept. 20, to begin the tours. The bus will take attendees to the airport on the morning of Sept. 25. Attendees are urged to make return flight arrangements between 10:30 a.m. and noon.

For more information, contact Jaeger at (334) 613-4221 or email njaeger@alfafarmers.org.

For questions regarding travel or registration, contact Lynn Cook at (334) 613-4080 or lcook@alfains.com.

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