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December 17, 2010   Email to Friend  Download PDF of this Issue

Women's Leadership Committee

The Alabama Farmers Federation Women's Leadership Division elected state officers and committee members during the annual meeting. They are, seated from left, Chairman Debbie Freeland of Mobile County, Vice Chairman Rita Garrett of Cherokee County, Secretary Faye Dial of Clay County and Gloria Jeffcoat of Houston County; standing, State Women's Leadership Division Director Kim Earwood, Virginia Abercrombie of Morgan County, Sarah Lazzari of Baldwin County, Delle Bean of Calhoun County, Kathy Anderson of Jefferson County and Sharon Byrd of Dale County.

Newby elected to seventh term as Federation president

Newly elected and re-elected officers and directors are, from left: Front Row -- Dickie Odom Jr., District 8 director; Debbie Freeland, chairman of the State Womens Leadership Committee; Ben Haynes, chairman of the State Young Farmers Committee; and Ted Grantland, District 2 director; Back Row -- Hal Lee, vice president north area; John Walker III, District 5 director; President Jerry Newby; David Bitto, District 11 director; and Ricky Wiggins, vice president, southeast area.
Jerry Newby, a Limestone County row crop and cattle farmer, was elected to his seventh straight two-year term as president of the Alabama Farmers Federation during elections at the organization's 89th annual meeting in Mobile, Dec. 6.

Newby, who delivered the annual report to about 1,200 members at Sunday's opening session, presided over the organization's business session in which almost 500 voting delegates elected new officers and board members. Officer positions are for two-year terms, while district directors are elected for three-year terms.

Also retaining his position as north area vice president was Hal Lee, a Morgan County poultry farmer. The north area covers Blount, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan and Winston counties.

Ricky Wiggins, a Covington County cattle, cotton and peanut producer, was unopposed as vice president of the southeast area. The southeast area covers Barbour, Bullock, Chambers, Coffee, Coosa, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Elmore, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee, Macon, Pike, Russell and Tallapoosa counties.

Elections were also held for four district board positions. Ted Grantland, a soybean and wheat and feed grain producer who serves as president of the Morgan County Farmers Federation, took the District 2 seat, an area that covers Limestone, Madison and Morgan counties. He succeeds Steve Tate of Madison County.

Also new to the board of directors is Dickie Odom Jr., president of the Greene County Farmers Federation. Odom took the District 8 seat that covers Choctaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Marengo, Perry, Pickens and Sumter counties. He succeeds Pat Buck of Sumter County.

John E. Walker III, a row crop and cattle producer who is president of the Tuscaloosa County Farmers Federation, was elected to his third term in District 5, covering Bibb, Fayette, Jefferson, Lamar and Tuscaloosa counties.

David Bitto, a peanut, soybean and beef producer who is president of the Baldwin County Farmers Federation, was also elected to his third term, retaining the District 11 seat which covers Baldwin, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Monroe, Mobile and Washington counties.

Elected to one-year, ex-officio terms on the state board were Women's Leadership Committee Chairman Debbie Freeland of Mobile County and State Young Farmers Chairman Ben Haynes of Cullman County.

The Alabama Farmers Federation, with 430,000 members, is Alabama's largest farm organization and a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Young Farmers Committee

The Alabama Farmers Federation Young Farmers Division elected state committee members and officers during the annual meeting. They are, seated from left, Mandy Wesley of Jefferson County, John Bitto of Baldwin County, Secretary Kevin Holland of Baldwin County and Heather Wright of Dallas County; back row, State Committee Chairman Ben Haynes of Cullman County, Vice Chairman Scott Poague of Elmore County, Clint McElmoyl of DeKalb County, Daniel Hall of Randolph County, Robert Cruise of Morgan County and Joe Murphy of Pike County.

Farm Bureau launches farm work video contest

American Farm Bureau Federation members from across the nation are invited to shoot and share their best home videos posted to YouTube of just how challenging, arduous and grungy farm and ranch work can be.

And, if their real-life farm and ranch jobs are tough enough and compelling in video format, they will have a chance to see their video on the big screen in front of 5,000 or so other farmers and ranchers attending the 2011 AFBF Annual Meeting, Jan. 9-11, in Atlanta.

It's all part of AFBF's Farm/Ranch Families Work video contest. The deadline for the contest is Dec. 29. Once members have their hard-work videos posted to YouTube, all they need to do is send a link before the deadline date to FBWORKS@fb.org. The winning video submitted by a Farm Bureau member will be featured during the 2011 AFBF Annual Meeting Closing General Session Jan. 10.

A full listing of the contest rules is on the AFBF Web site at FB.org.

Morgan County tops in pop-tab collections

The Morgan County Farmers Federation Women's Leadership Committee was recognized during the Alabama Farmers Federation's annual meeting, Dec. 5-6 in Mobile for collecting the most pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House this year. Sue Nelson of Morgan County received a plaque for the achievement during an awards luncheon.

Morgan County collected 375 of the 1,816 pounds of pop tabs collected by the Federation Women's Leadership Committees statewide this year.

Those collections will nearly pay for a family to stay at the Ronald McDonald House for an entire month.

Winners named in Young Farmer competitions

Josh and Jessica Turner of DeKalb County captured the 2010 Outstanding Young Farm Family award at the closing session of the 89th Annual Meeting of the Alabama Farmers Federation. Among the prizes presented was a new John Deere Gator, courtesy of Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit. From left are: Doug Thiessen of Alabama Ag Credit, Josh and Jessica Turner with children Griffin, Harlee and Jake, Ben Gore of Alabama Farm Credit and Federation President Jerry Newby.
Josh and Jessica Turner of Sylvania in DeKalb County were named Alabama's Outstanding Young Farm Family during the Alabama Farmers Federation's 89th annual meeting in Mobile. The Turners operate a poultry and cattle farm and have three children: a daughter, Harlee (6) and sons Griffin (4) and Jake (2).

As Alabama's Outstanding Young Farm Family, the Turners received thousands of dollars in cash and prizes, including a John Deere Gator courtesy of Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit; a personal computer package courtesy of Valcom/CCS Wireless; a one-year lease of a John Deere tractor courtesy of Tri-Green, SunSouth and Snead Ag; $500 cash from Dodge; the use of a new Chevrolet Traverse from the Alabama Farmers Federation; and an expense-paid trip to the 2011 American Farm Bureau (AFBF)Annual Meeting where they will compete for the Young Farmers Achievement Award and a new Dodge truck.

Kirk Smith of Blount County, who earlier this year won first place in the Excellence in Agriculture Award, was also recognized during the annual meeting. He will represent Alabama at the AFBF meeting, where he will compete for the chance to win a 2011 Dodge truck and other prizes.

Katie Hines of Madison County was the winner of the Discussion Meet and received $500 from Dodge and a matching cash prize from First South Farm Credit. She will represent Alabama at the AFBF annual meeting and will compete for the chance to win a 2011 Dodge truck and other prizes.

Allie Corcoran of Barbour County was the second-place winner of the Discussion Meet and also received $500 from First South Farm Credit.

The third- and fourth-place finishers, Josh Turner of DeKalb County and Mike Dole of St. Clair County, each received $250 from First South Farm Credit.

Discussion Meet and Excellence in Ag Awards

From left are Camp Powers of First South Farm Credit, First Place Excellence in Ag Contest Winner Kirk Smith of Blount County, First Place Discussion Meet Winner Katie Hines of Madison County, Second Place Discussion Meet Winner Allie Corcoran of Barbour County and Roger Chappell of First South Farm Credit.

Ag Communications Award

Federation Department of Public Relations & Communications Director Jeff Helms presented the Federation's Agricultural Communications Award to Jim Cox of the "East Lauderdale News" in Rogersville during the organization's 89th Annual Meeting in Mobile. Cox was nominated for the award by Lauderdale County Farmers Federation President Charlie Thompson. From left are Helms, Jim and Phyllis Cox and Federation President Jerry Newby.


Raymond Louis Schnell of Homewood, who served as president of the Marengo County Farmers Federation for 17 years, died Nov. 29. He was 96.

Schnell graduated from Shades Cahaba High School in 1930 and the University of Tennessee with a degree in dairy sciences in 1939. A World War II veteran, Schnell was station quarter master, supporting the 8th Air Force in England. After the war, he began a 40-year career as a farmer in Gallion and was a member of Demopolis First United Methodist Church.

Survivors include his daughters, Linda (Richard) Ball of Homewood and Janet Ehrke of San Jose, CA; granddaughters Amy and Wendy Ball and Karen Ehrke; sister, Helen Schnell Cockrell; brother-in-law, Sam (Martha Lou) Hay and sister-in-law Betty Dill.

The family suggests memorials be made to Boy Scouts of America, 516 Liberty Parkway, Birmingham, AL 35242 or a favorite charity.

Service to Agriculture Award

Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry Newby, left, presented Dr. John Wheat, founder and director of the University of Alabama's Rural Health Leaders Pipeline Program, with the Alabama Farmers Federation's highest honor, the Service To Agriculture Award, during the opening session of the organization's 89th Annual Meeting at Mobile's Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center, Dec. 5.

Leadership Awards

Several Federation leaders from throughout the state received individual recognition awards at the annual meeting for outstanding service in their respective counties. From left are Sammy Roney of Houston County, Local and Community Service; Mike Dole of St. Clair County, Young Farmers Division; Rick Smith of St. Clair County, Commodity Division; Roland St. John of St. Clair County, Local and Community Services; and Lillian Slay of Chambers County, Women's Division.

Awards For Excellence

The Award For Excellence is the highest recognition a county Federation can receive and recognizes its achievement in organization, Young Farmers program, Women's Leadership program, commodity work and governmental affairs. Several counties received the award during the annual meeting. From left are, Baldwin County Farmers Federation President David Bitto, Blount County President Boyce Foust, Butler County President Tom Duncan, Calhoun County President Keith Bryant, Covington County President Russell Wiggins, Cullman County President Kenneth Neal, Lamar County Board Member Jessie Lee Barnes, Mobile County President Calvin Freeland, Pike County President John Dorrill, immediate past president of Randolph County Larry Bowen and St. Clair County President Stanley Morris.

Several bills passed during special session on ethics reform

A special session of the Alabama Legislature called by Gov. Bob Riley was held Dec. 8 -16, covering seven legislative days. The session featured seven bills the governor said would strengthen ethics laws and reduce lobbying influence.

Legislators who were elected in the November general election took office immediately and participated in the special session. They will reconvene for the organizational session on Jan. 11. Rep. Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, was elected speaker of the special session.

Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom, who does not leave office until Jan. 17, presided over the Senate during the special session.

Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, was elected Senate president pro-tem of the special session.

HB 10, sponsored by Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison, was passed Tuesday. It prohibits lawmakers from secretly assigning state money to a state agency budget that would eventually divert the money to a project favored by the legislator (commonly known as pass-through pork).

SB 2, sponsored by Sen. Marsh, prohibits payroll deduction collections for political action committee contributions by any state, county or city government agency, including school boards, as well as the collection of dues for membership organizations that use funds for political activities.

HB 9, sponsored by Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Capshaw, prohibits transfers of funds between political action committees, commonly known as PAC-to-PAC transfers.

During the 2010 annual meeting of the Alabama Farmers Federation, voting delegates approved policy that opposes PAC-to-PAC transfers.

HB 11, sponsored by Rep. Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood, requires ethics training for legislators and lobbyists. It also requires reports submitted to the Alabama Ethics Commission to be posted electronically for public inspection.

SB 1, by Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, gives subpoena power to the Alabama Ethics Commission when investigating alleged ethics violations by public officials and others.

SB 3, sponsored by Sen. Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills, prohibits a legislator from holding another state government job, commonly referred to as "double-dipping". The bill includes all state employees, and encompasses employees of local boards of education and higher education. The bill will not take affect until the current legislative term expires.

SB 14, sponsored by Sen. Bryan Taylor, R-Prattville, restricts spending on legislators by lobbyists.

Each of the bills now await the governor's signature. He is expected to sign the bills.

Senior Leader Awards
Several county board members received the Senior Leader Award during the annual meeting. From left are, Chambers County President Phil Slay accepting a plaque for Scott Langley, Bill Thomas of Chambers County, John Morris of Jefferson County, Shirley Weeks of Lamar County, Stanley Morris of St. Clair County, Thomas E. Harless of Tuscaloosa County, Carl Godsey of Winston County and Prather Slay of Chambers County.

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