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September 10, 2010   Email to Friend  Download PDF of this Issue

"My Alfa" offers new customer services

Alfa Insurance has released My Alfa, a new Web site portal that allows policyholders to view policy information, make payments, request changes and print auto identification cards.

The new feature marks the second major Web site update for www.AlfaInsurance.com in the last year. Vice President of Corporate Internet and E-Business Walter Overby said My Alfa is just one of the ways Alfa is working to make doing business with the company even easier.

"This is the one-stop shop for customer service -- improving the way Alfa does business," Overby said. "This is just the first step in more online features designed to meet the rapidly changing demands of customers."

To begin using My Alfa, customers should go to www.AlfaInsurance.com and click on the "Register Now" link located under the My Alfa™ log-in box on the home page. To ensure private information is protected, customers are required to provide policy numbers during the registration process. This information can be found on policy declarations and billing notices. Policyholders who need assistance with their My Alfa registration may call 1-800-964-2532, seven days a week, 6 a.m. to midnight.


New Weather Stations

Alfa recently donated $15,000 for agricultural weather stations used to help farmers manage risks and increase efficiency. The combination meteorological/soil profile stations are run by the Alabama A&M University Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. From right, Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry Newby and Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan examine one of the stations near Huntsville with Dr. Robert W. Taylor, dean of the School of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences at Alabama A&M University and Alabama A&M doctoral graduate student Hwan He Han.






Refuge plan meets opposition from area landowners

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials who have proposed expanding a wildlife refuge in central Alabama by acquiring thousands of acres of private land got an earful from property owners who attended a public hearing in Brent, Sept. 2.

The overflow crowd attended the public hearing as part of a comment period about the proposal made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to expand the Cahaba River Wildlife Refuge from 3,600 acres to 106,415 acres. The service also wants to establish an additional 173,380-acre conservation area adjacent to the refuge by purchasing conservation easements and leases.

Chilton County Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell spoke on behalf of the Alabama Farmers Federation and as a landowner and logger.

"I am here tonight representing the Alabama Farmers Federation, the state's largest farmer organization with more than 400,000 members," Parnell said. "We are opposed to this proposal and intend to use every means we have to stop it."

The crowd interrupted Parnell with applause on three occasions as he spoke, and his remarks were entered into official testimony of the hearing.

Parnell, who owns property within the proposed area, said if the goal of the service was to protect the proposed area, no evidence had been presented to indicate private landowners were not already doing a good job of that.

"And there is no evidence that the federal government can manage it better than these private landowners," Parnell said. Many there, including Parnell, questioned why an economic and environmental impact study was not conducted before the proposal got this far. Service officials at the meeting said it could be part of the plan once the public comment period was complete.

Fish and Wildlife Service officials repeatedly told the crowd their goal is to acquire land from "willing sellers" and protect the area's natural resources.

However, service officials did concede that the proposal contains the government's right to acquire property through the use of eminent domain. That portion of the plan seemed to draw the most ire from landowners.

The comment period that had been set to expire Aug. 31 has been extended to Dec. 6.

After the comment period, the service will either draft a new proposal or move forward with the conservation and preservation plan in place.

For a copy of the plan, visit www.fws.gov/cahabariver. Comments may be submitted to: Ms. Kimberly Eldridge, 1875 Century Boulevard, Suite 420, Atlanta, GA 30345.


APHIS Vet Meets Committee

Dr. Adis Dijab, center, the area veterinarian in charge for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service veterinarian services recently met with members of the Alabama Farmers Federation State Beef Committee where they discussed the animal disease traceability program and its future in the state. Dijab is pictured here with State Beef Committee Chairman Tommy Maples of Limestone County, left, and First Vice Committee Chairman Tim Whitley of Blount County.






Russian wheat shortage causes seed shortage

A below-average wheat crop in Alabama last year along with a critical drought in Russia, a major exporter of wheat, has created a smaller seed supply for potential growers this year.

Increased interest in the crop by farmers and speculators may create seed shortages in some areas, and Alabama Farmers Federation Wheat & Feed Grains Division Director Buddy Adamson cautions farmers to use wheat varieties intended for Alabama soils and climate. Wheat suited for planting elsewhere could produce little, if any, grain, he said.

While wheat prices have fallen slightly in recent days, they remain well above normal summertime levels. Wheat for December delivery that traded around $7.25 per 60-pound bushel last week was bringing around $4.95 a year ago.


Finalists named in search for AU Forestry and Wildlife Dean

Three finalists have been selected in the search to replace Dr. Richard Brinker, retiring dean of the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.

The finalists are Dr. Robert Bush, Dr. James P. Shepard and Dr. Robert Warren.

Bush has a bachelor's degree in forest science from the University of Minnesota. He has a master's and doctorate in forest products marketing and management from Virginia Tech, where he later served as associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Natural Resources.

Shepard received his bachelor's degree in forest management from Mississippi State University, his master's in tree physiology from Purdue University and his doctorate in forest soils from Mississippi State University. He currently serves as professor and associate director of the Forest and Wildlife Research Center and Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute at Mississippi State University.

Warren has a bachelor's degree in wildlife ecology from Oklahoma State University. He received his master's in wildlife management and his doctorate in wildlife biology from Virginia Polytechnic and State University.

The selection is expected to be made by Oct. 1.


OBITUARIES

William Klindt Klingler of Shopton and Auburn, vice-president and board member of the Bullock County Farmers Federation, died Aug. 26 after a lengthy illness. He was 59.

Klingler, a cattle rancher and pecan producer, graduated Union Springs High School, attended Marion Military Institute and was an Auburn University graduate with a bachelor's degree in animal science. He was also a member of Mount Carmel Baptist Church.

Survivors include his wife, Sandra Elizabeth Klingler; two daughters, McLaurine Elizabeth Klingler and Mary Ashton Klingler of Auburn; two brothers, Harold Henri (Janet) Klingler, Jr., of Jesup, Ga., and James Edward (Jane) Klingler of Shopton and numerous nieces and nephews. Memorials may be made to Mount Carmel Baptist Church, 7570 Hwy. 82, Union Springs, AL or to one's favorite charity.

Richard Earl Carr Jr., a lifelong resident of Shorter and a board member of the Macon County Farmers Federation, died Sept. 3. He was 65. He was the co-owner of Ray & Carr Farms, R & C Grocery, Agri-Trans LLC and Carr's Tree Service and was an active member of the First United Methodist Church of Tallassee. In addition to his service to the Farmers Federation, he was a member of the Alabama Cattlemen's Association.

Survivors include his wife of 42 years, Betty Ann; his son, Richard Earl Carr, III (Kelli); two grandchildren; a sister, Bobbie Ann Fiala (Marvin, Sr.); and several nieces and nephews.

Memorials may be made to Nebraska Missionary Baptist Church (Senior Citizens and Youth Programs), c/o Rev. James Sullen, 3005 Co. Rd. 13, Hardaway, AL 36039, or to the humane shelter of your choice.

Gilmer C. Grant of Glenwood, a board member of the Coffee County Farmers Federation, died Sept. 4. He was 72.

Survivors include his wife, Shirley M. Grant; a daughter, Deena M. Croley (Michael); a son, Darren F. Grant (Carol Stephens), all of Glenwood; and two granddaughters.

Memorials may be made to Hospice Advantage, P. O. Box 965, Troy, AL 36081 or the American Cancer Society P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, Okla.


St. Clair County cook wins state contest with Autumn Harvest pie

Winners in the 2010 Heritage Cooking Contest are, from left, first place, Carol Simpson of St. Clair County; second place, Shannon Murray of Franklin County; and third place, Toni Flowers of Montgomery County.
Carol Simpson said she felt a little out-classed when she walked into the Alabama Farmers Federation's Annual Heritage Cooking Contest in Montgomery, Sept. 2. The St. Clair County cook was carrying an Autumn Harvest Pie, her entry in the state cooking contest, in a grocery bag.

"I didn't see mine as being in the same class as those," she said looking around the room filled with fresh-baked pies. "I just really didn't think it would win."

But it did, and her family's favorite pie not only earned high praise from the judges, it also won her a blue ribbon and $150. Other winners in the contest were Shannon Murray from Franklin County who won second place with her mouth-watering Key Lime Mousse Pie and Toni Flowers of Montgomery County who won third with her delicious Old-Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie. Second- and third-place winners received cash awards of $100 and $50, respectively.

Participants in the statewide competition, sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation Women's Leadership Division, had earlier won their county Federation's annual cooking contest. The state competition was held at the corporate offices of Alfa Insurance and drew winners from 35 counties.

During the judging, contestants learned about the Buy Alabama's Best Program from Montgomery businesswoman Virginia Whitfield of Whitfield Foods, Inc.

Dishes were judged on taste, appearance and ease of preparation. A full list of all the state entries is available online at www.AlfaFarmers.org.


Peanut Producers Association launches new billboard campaign

Just in time for the harvest season, the Alabama Peanut Producers Association (APPA) has launched a billboard campaign promoting the health benefits of peanuts.

The billboards read: "Farmers are digging the peanuts. People are digging the protein." The signs were placed in two prominent peanut-growing regions of the state - Dothan and Mobile, and are in high traffic areas. The project is a joint promotion of APPA and the National Peanut Board (NPB) and includes NPB's slogan: "Peanuts: Energy for the good Life," which is prominently displayed on the large signs.

"This is a great example of how growers can share their stories to thousands of motorists on a daily basis, reminding them the peanuts they see being harvested can give them a nutritious boost," said Randy Griggs, APPA executive director.


Deadline extended for some spill prevention plans

A deadline proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dealing with spill prevention of oil products has been delayed one year, but only for certain types of facilities. All other operations must still comply this year with the Nov. 10 deadline, and still others already are subject to state Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) guidelines, according to Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) regulations.

EPA extended the compliance deadline for farms established after August 2002 and dairies whose milk storage facilities may already be regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or other agencies. The farms established after August 2002 will not have to comply with the federal rules until Nov. 10, 2011.

Dairies established after August 2002 will be given one year from the date of EPA's finalization of the still-proposed rule that will cover milk tanks.

However, this does not mean Alabama farmers are necessarily exempt from coverage for another year.

"AFOs and CAFOs in the state of Alabama have been required to implement SPCC Best Management Practices (BMPs), and CAFOs have been required to implement an SPCC plan as part of their Comprehensive Waste Management System Plan (WMSP) since the CAFO rules were enacted in 1999," said Mitt Walker of the Alabama Farmers Federation. Walker, who handles environmental issues for the Federation, said any farm that existed prior to August of 2002 is already subject to the federal rules and possibly state rules.

Farmers who operate AFOs or CAFOs can contact ADEM at (334) 394-4311 with questions or if they need assistance regarding federal and state SPCC requirements. Under the federal rules, farmers may self-certify or use a qualified credentialed professional. A template for a self-prepared and self-certified plan and a fact sheet developed specifically for farms, along with other information related to the federal rule, is available at www.epa.gov/emergencies/spcc.



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