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October 08, 2010   Email to Friend  Download PDF of this Issue

Parker Farm Visit

From left, Billy and Terrie Gilley and their grandson, Cole, of Cullman County recently hosted Public Service Commission candidate Susan Parker at their farm near Holly Pond where Parker met with other farmers in the area. Parker has been endorsed by the Alabama Farmers Federation and is seeking election to her second four-year term.

Federation site offers candidate interviews

Alabama Farmers Federation Public Relations and Communications Director Jeff Helms, left, interviews Supreme Court Justice Michael Bolin for a video that is featured on the Federation's Web site at www.AlfaFarmers.org. Bolin is among several candidates endorsed by the Federation who are featured on the site.
A series of interviews with candidates endorsed by the Alabama Farmers Federation for judicial races and constitutional offices is featured in a new segment on the Federation's website. A link to interviews with the candidates can be found on the Federation's home page at www.AlfaFarmers.org.

"Our newly redesigned website provides a great tool to share information with our members," said Jeff Helms, director of the Alabama Farmers Federation's Public Relations and Communications Department.

Interviews with each of the candidates allows them to tell Federation members about their background, qualifications and how their respective office affects farmers and all Alabamians. Candidates included on the website are Beth Chapman, who is seeking re-election as Secretary of State; Young Boozer, a candidate for State Treasurer; Kelli Wise, who is seeking election as Supreme Court Justice, Place 1; Michael Bolin, who is seeking re-election as Supreme Court Justice, Place 2; Tom Parker, who is seeking re-election as Supreme Court Justice, Place 3; Susan Parker, who is seeking re-election to the Public Service Commission, Place 2; Jan Cook, who is seeking re-election to the Public Service Commission, Place 1; Kay Ivey, who is running for Lieutenant Governor; John McMillan, a candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries; and Luther Strange who is running for Attorney General.

Video interviews also are scheduled with Tommy Bryan, who is seeking re-election to the Court of Civil Appeals and Sam Shaw, who is seeking re-election as State Auditor. Those interviews will be uploaded in the next few days.

Federation supports plan to improve roads and bridges

The Alabama Farmers Federation has joined the Alabama Jobs Coalition, a statewide partnership working to support the passage of Amendment 3 on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Amendment 3 would provide $100 million for the next 10 years from the Alabama Trust Fund to improve roads and bridges in the state. It will not raise taxes.

"If approved, this referendum will sustain and create thousands of jobs and could significantly decrease the number of deaths and accidents on Alabama's rural roads," said Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan. "Passage of this amendment is important to everyone in our state, but it is especially important to farmers and rural residents who live in areas where trucks and school buses travel on inadequate, deficient roads and bridges."

The measure also would provide a much-needed boost to Alabama's economy, not only through the jobs it would sustain, but through new opportunities that will be created by improved and increased infrastructure.

Studies show that every dollar spent on road and bridge construction generates about $2.05 in economic benefits and for every dollar spent on maintenance, the return is estimated at $2.70 in benefits.

"Many of our state's bridges are more than 50 years old and are outdated for today's urban traffic demands and modern farm equipment," Pinyan said. "Almost 25 percent of our state's bridges are currently rated as structurally deficient and/or functionally obsolete."

Pinyan said Federation members are encouraged to support Amendment 3, and reiterated it is not a tax increase.

Members enjoy the "Show Me" beef tour

O.D. Cope, owner of Cope Land & Cattle in Aurora, Mo., right, greets Federation members as they arrive at his farm during the tour.
Twenty-five members attended the Alabama Farmers Federation's "Show Me" Beef Tour to Missouri, Sept. 19-25. The group traveled 936 miles and visited six farms, a feedlot and a stockyard. The tour stops represented a combined capacity of 24,000 head of cattle.

The tour's main focus was residual feed intake (RFI), Management Intensive Grazing and improving genetic selection. Several stops emphasized the importance of improving feed efficiency.

Tour participants also learned about genetic selection and forage efficiency.

One of the most popular tour stops was Circle A Feeders in Huntsville, Mo., a private feed yard that only buys and feeds cattle from Circle A Angus seedstock customers. The feed yard has a one-time capacity of 5,000 head where all cattle are under one roof and bedded on sawdust, resulting in zero waste runoff. Circle A Feeders also uses the Grow Safe System to test specific American Breeder Services sire groups for feed efficiency and to improve their own genetics. The tour ended with some family fun in Branson where members were able to take in shows and go shopping.

Rogers Tours AU

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, right, recently conducted an agricultural tour at Auburn University where he learned about the current research, including pine straw harvest, low-impact logging and renewable energy. Dr. Tom Gallagher, AU associate professor, left, discusses research with Alabama Farmers Federation Commodity Director Guy Hall, John East of Cherokee County and Rogers.


John A. Garrett of Montgomery, a long-time board member of the Montgomery County Farmers Federation, died Sept. 26. He was 101.

In addition to raising dairy cattle and beef cattle, Garrett served as state director of commodity services for Alabama Farm Bureau in the 1950s.

Garrett later owned and operated Cherokee Builders, an industrial and commercial construction business.

In 1969, he was appointed by President Nixon to serve as the director of the Alabama Farmers Home Administration, a position he held until 1977.

Garrett was well known for his contributions to Alabama's agriculture industry and for his community service, especially his contributions to the Alabama Rural Water Association, Camp ASCCA, Montgomery Farmers Cooperative, Snowdoun Volunteer Fire Department and Montgomery Rotary Club.

He is survived by two daughters, Kitty Garrett Dawson and Mary John Garrett (Sim) Byrd; three grandchildren; and five great- grandchildren.

Grace Myers Wingard of Grady, a board member of the Crenshaw County Farmers Federation, died Sept. 26. She was 84. She served as chairman of the Crenshaw County Women's Leadership Committee for more than 44 years and was an Alfa Insurance employee for 27 years, including five as agent.

Survivors include a son and daughter-in-law, Jim and Pat Wingard; two granddaughters, Nicki (Ray) Barber and Jessica (Neal) Hinton; four great grandchildren; a sister-in-law, Myra Myers; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Deatsville cotton field becomes global classroom

Spouses of officers at the International Air Command Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery recently toured the Elmore County farm of Richard and Becky Edgar where they picked cotton by hand. The cotton will be used to create "cotton angels" and other decorations.
A Deatsville cotton field became a global classroom Sept. 29 as about 30 women from the International Dependant's English Course (IDEC) at Maxwell Air Force Base visited Richard and Becky Edgar's farm as part of the program's cultural exchange.

With garden snips or scissors and plastic shopping bags in hand, women from Slovenia, Germany, France, Israel, Denmark, Norway, Philippines and other countries laughed and joked with one another -- in English and other languages -- as they picked cotton and took lots of photographs under blistering late-September heat.

"All of their husbands, or fathers in some cases, are officers that are doing a one-year tour at Maxwell," said Marcia Monroe, an instructor with the language program sponsored by the International Officer School for spouses and/or children of officers at the Air Command Staff College or Air War College. "This is their one big foray into the country, and they seem to really look forward to it," she said.

Becky Edgar said the IDEC visits began four years ago when Monroe called to ask if the group could come and pick cotton. "We look forward to this every year," said Becky. "It's interesting to meet ladies from all over the world."

Monroe said the women would use the cotton bolls they picked to create "cotton angels" and other decorations.

Richard Edgar saw the ladies' visit as an opportunity to help pick 250 acres of cotton.

"If all of them had a bag and could pick about a bale a day, they could pick about what I'm picking with this," said Richard, who stopped his big red Case IH cotton picker to answer the group's many questions.

Before Edgar climbed back aboard his picker, another instructor expressed her gratitude by saying, "This may just be the highlight of their time in America."

Tuskegee to host goat show Oct. 23

The Tuskegee University (TU) Prevet Club will hold an annual Open Goat Show at the Tuskegee University Caprine Research and Education Unit on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.

The show is open to all youth exhibitors under age 19 who are residents of Alabama. Events include breeding classes, market classes and showmanship.

Entry forms must be postmarked by Oct. 18.

For more information, contact Dr. Nar Gurung, TU Prevet Club Advisor at ngurung@tuskegee.edu or call him at (334) 727-8457.

Management seminars planned for private forestland owners

A program on forest and wildlife management for private forest owners will be held Oct. 14 in Camden and Oct. 28 in Shorter.

The program will focus on the economics, health and wildlife of privately owned forests. Also included will be discussions on managing longleaf pine and hardwoods, prescribed burning, the use of herbicides, controlling invasive plants and cost share programs to reduce management expenses.

The cost is $25 for each location which includes refreshments and lunch. For more information, contact Mark Smith at (334) 844-8099. For registration, contact Kelly Knowles at (334) 844-1010.

FFA Foundation creates H.N. Lewis Scholarship Fund

The Alabama FFA Foundation is seeking to develop future agricultural leaders while honoring one of the state's pioneers in agriculture education through establishment of the H.N. Lewis Scholarship Fund.

Doug Rigney, past president of the Foundation, said the endowment will fund scholarships for third- and fourth-year university students enrolled in agriscience education.

"Mr. Lewis spent his career mentoring students and developing programs to strengthen Alabama farms," Rigney said. "The recipients of these scholarships will follow in his footsteps by going back to Alabama high schools and teaching students about agriculture, leadership and civic responsibility."

Lewis, who served as an Alabama livestock specialist for 37 years, is credited with improving the quality of the state's beef cattle and swine herds by promoting the Sears Bull Program and FFA Pig Chain Program. These efforts allowed FFA chapters to acquire genetically superior breeding stock for student livestock projects. Offspring from those projects stayed in rural communities where they revolutionized many farm operations.

Lewis later served as executive secretary of Alabama FFA, where he mentored state FFA officers. Many of these young men and women went on to become leaders in farm organizations, elected officials, members of the judiciary and business executives.

Lewis remains active in agricultural education through his involvement with the National Peanut Festival Committee, the executive committee of the Alabama State FFA Officers Alumni Association, the Alabama FFA Foundation, the Alabama FFA Career Tech Committee and Alabama Adult and Young Farmers. Donations to the H.N. Lewis Scholarship Fund are tax deductible. Make checks payable to Alabama FFA Foundation, P.O. Box 302101, Montgomery, AL 36130.

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