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October 22, 2010   Email to Friend  Download PDF of this Issue

Sunbelt honors Southeast's top farmers

Alabama Farmer of the Year Shep Morris, right, was recognized during the Sunbelt Ag Expo Awards Luncheon Tuesday in Moultrie, Ga. Morris who is president of the Macon County Farmers Federation, received $2,500 and an engraved glass vase from Expo Executive Director Chip Blalock.
Alabama Farm of Distinction Winner Shep Morris was recognized during the Sunbelt Ag Expo awards luncheon Tuesday in Moultrie, Ga.

As Alabama's nominee for the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Ag Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year, Morris received a check for $2,500 and a gift certificate from Southern States.

Morris is active in the Alabama Farmers Federation and serves as president of the Macon County Farmers Federation. The diversified farm owned by Morris and his wife, Rite, includes 3,000 acres of row crops in Macon and Montgomery counties. Robert Dasher of G&R Farms in Glennville, Ga., was selected as the overall winner of the 2010 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award. The award honors excellence in agricultural production and management and leadership in community and farm organizations. The award also recognizes family contributions in producing safe and abundant supplies of food, fiber and shelter for U.S. consumers.

As the winner, Dasher received a $15,000 cash, the use of a tractor of his choice for a year, gift certificates totaling $1,000 and a custom-made gun safe.

He will also receive a jacket, $500 gift certificate and $500 in cash from the Williamson-Dickie clothing company.

Farmers and small businesses rally around Strange

Alabama Farmers Federation State Board Member Garry Henry, left, and Montgomery County Farmers Federation Board Member Laslie Hall, right, meet with Republican attorney general candidate Luther Strange following a news conference Oct. 5 in Montgomery.
Alabama farmers, forest owners and small businessmen pledged their support for Republican attorney general candidate Luther Strange during a news conference recently at the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance home office in Montgomery.

"Luther Strange has been a long-time friend of Alabama farmers. He worked with greenhouse, nursery and sod producers 10 years ago when unfair water restrictions almost crippled the industry, and he is committed to fighting burdensome regulations and frivolous lawsuits that would derail economic recovery," said Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan in introducing the candidate.

Strange pledged to enforce the rule of law, crack down on public corruption and stand up to the federal government on issues like government-run healthcare and climate change legislation.

"People represented by the membership here at this podium represent thousands and thousands of hardworking Alabamians who provide great jobs, and I am honored to have their support," Strange said.

The Alabama Farmers Federation, National Federation of Independent Business and Alabama Forestry Association have endorsed Luther Strange for attorney general in the Nov. 2 general election.

Federation leaders review policy

From left, Tallapoosa County Farmers Federation Board Member John Neighbors, Russell County Farmers Federation President Ben Bowden and Covington County Farmers Federation President Russell Wiggins were among leaders who reviewed Alabama Farmers Federation policy during Wednesday's Policy Development Meeting.
The annual Policy Development meeting of the Alabama Farmers Federation was held Oct. 20 at the Federation headquarters in Montgomery. Leaders from throughout the state, including state board members, county presidents and state commodity chairmen, discussed policy that serves as a guideline for the Federation.

Proposed policy changes will be considered by the Federation's voting delegates at the annual meeting in Mobile in December. Federations leaders agreed to:

• Support the creation of a study committee by the state Legislature to evaluate Forever Wild and support allocation of state oil and gas leases revenue (Alabama Trust Fund) on a renewable basis for improvement of agricultural, wildlife and renewable natural resources.
• Support measures affecting poultry production, including issue resolution, grower investment, building modification and contract concerns between integrators and producers.
• Support continuation of the fulltime National FFA advisor position.
• Support education of students at the Alabama Fire College to respond to on-farm emergencies.
• Support extension of planting season dates of all crops by 10 days for crop insurance purposes.
• Ensure federal food safety regulations do not overburden producers.
• Oppose local regulations that restrict transportion for agriculture and forestry products.
• Oppose local regulations that supersede state environmental regulations.
• Support dairy checkoff funds to encourage consumption of natural dairy products.

Etowah County Farm Day

The Etowah County Farmers Federation was among the sponsors of Farm Day in Hokes Bluff where more than 1,300 students learned about life on the farm including conservation, equipment and aquaculture. In this photo, children enjoy playing in a pile of shelled corn.

U.S. soy exports hit record for fourth year

U.S. soy exports set a record for the fourth year in a row with exports of 1.9 billion bushels for the last marketing year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Soybean-checkoff funded international sales efforts helped to achieve these record-setting export numbers. The United Soybean Board (USB) devotes the largest percentage of its budget toward increasing sales abroad.

U.S. soybean farmers shipped more than 1.45 billion bushels of whole soybeans, up from the 1.24 billion bushels exported last year. Also, increasing in the 2009/2010 marketing year were exports of soybean meal totaling 428 million bushels. Soybean oil weighed in at 1.4 million metric tons. The USDA credited strong early season sales and a projected increase in global import demand for the continued success of U.S. soy exports.


The Coosa County Women's Leadership Committee recently adopted a mile of highway along U.S. Highway 231, south of Rockford, as part of its community service mission. From left, Coosa County Farmers Federation Member Pat Windsor and Coosa County Women's Leadership Chairman Glenda Cardwell were joined by Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry Newby in their cleanup efforts.

Drought continues to take toll on state crops and livestock

While the cool, dry weather is providing near perfect conditions for the fall harvest, the effects of the drought have been felt by row crop and livestock producers alike.

The entire state is now in a drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitoring System, and the areas of extreme drought, the most serious, continue to grow.

Cotton, corn, peanut and soybean farmers say the dry weather has generated noticeable low yields in many areas.

Livestock producers are reporting poor to very poor pasture conditions in most areas of the state and dry conditions may delay cool season forages.

Wheat farmers in many areas of the state have been unable to plant their fall crop because of low soil moisture.

Horticulture Field Day

The Mobile County Farmers Federation Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod Committee recently helped sponsor an Ornamental Horticulture Field Day in Mobile. Alabama Farmers Federation Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod State Committee Chairman Tommy Odom of Mobile, right, discusses the newest technologies for alternative potting mixes with Dr. Glenn Fain of Auburn University. Nearly 75 Alabama producers, students and industry leaders attended the field day.

Nominations sought for Federation's Agriculture Communications Award

The Alabama Farmers Federation is seeking nominations for the 2010 Agriculture Communications Award. The award will be presented to a newspaper, radio station or television station during the Federation's annual meeting in Mobile, Dec. 6.

The award honors a media outlet that has helped tell farmers' stories by presenting timely, accurate and fair information. County presidents should submit letters of recommendation for their nominees before Nov. 5.

Letters should be mailed to Alabama Farmers Federation Communications Director Jeff Helms, P.O. Box 11000, Montgomery, AL 36191-0001 or emailed to JHelms@AlfaFarmers.org.

Quail Tour

Coosa County Farmers Federation Board Member Raymond Shaw, right, explains efforts to restore native quail habitat to his farm with, from left, Betty Gillum of Talladega County, Federation President Jerry Newby, Cody Cash and his grandfather Coosa County Farmers Federation President Ronnie Brown. Shaw and his wife, Sara, hosted the tour which was also attended by Randolph County Farmers Federation President Jimmy Fetner, Clay County Farmers Federation President Lamar Dewberry and others.

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