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July 15, 2011   Email to Friend  Download PDF of this Issue

Federation sponsors seminars on new immigration law

The Alabama Farmers Federation is sponsoring a series of seminars this summer to educate farmers about the state's new immigration law.

One seminar is scheduled during the Commodity Producers Conference in Huntsville, and four others are being conducted by Alabama Employers for Immigration Reform (ALEIR), of which the Federation is a member.

"Our members support secure borders, but they are concerned about how this new law may impact their ability to hire or retain dependable workers," said David Cole, the Federation's director of agricultural legislation. "Farmers want to make sure they are in compliance with the new regulations, and they need to understand how the law will impact the workforce so they can make plans for the coming year."

The Commodity Conference seminar is set for Saturday, Aug. 6, at 11 a.m. It will feature Paul Schlegel of the American Farm Bureau Federation; Ted Hosp, an attorney with Maynard, Cooper and Gale in Birmingham; and Dan Bremer with Ag Works Inc., which helps farmers find temporary or seasonal workers. In addition, ALEIR is hosting a series of seminars aimed at educating employers about how the new law will impact their businesses. The seminars will feature attorneys from Maynard, Cooper and Gale; Capell and Howard; Balch and Bingham, and Bradley, Arant, Boult and Cummings.

Dates and locations of the ALEIR seminars are: Mobile, July 25 at the Semmes Community Center; Birmingham, Aug. 3 at Rosewood Hall, Soho; Montgomery, Aug. 17 at the Gordon Persons Building Auditorium; and Huntsville, Aug. 31 to be announced. Each seminar is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., followed by a question-and-answer session. The registration fee is $25.

A webinar sponsored by the Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System will be July 26 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. To watch the event from any Web Browser, go to aces.edu/go/172. Participants may connect at anytime, but will not see content until roughly 10:45 a.m. and no audio until the program begins. This event will be archived, so it may be viewed later by using the same link.

Questions may be submitted during the broadcast by email. Direct questions to hort@auburn.edu.

An informational flyer about the ALEIR seminars is included in this week's Cultivator and is available in the PDF download of this issue. For more information about these seminars, contact Mac Higginbotham in the Federation's Governmental and Agricultural Programs Department at 800-392-5705, ext. 5610 or mhigginbotham@AlfaFarmers.org.

Roby hears from farmers about new farm bill

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, left, hears from Geneva County farmer Donald Wilks and Barbour County farmer Allie Corcoran during a listening session held in Troy June 30, where she collected information about the 2012 farm bill.
Alabama farmers told U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., what they'd like in the 2012 farm bill, but they were equally vocal about what they don't want when they met with her in Troy, June 30.

The farmers were taking part in a listening session that Roby, who represents the 2nd Congressional District and is a member of the House Agriculture Committee, held to gather input on the next farm bill. Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan served as moderator for the meeting.

"I appreciate what you do, and I understand the importance of what you do," Roby told the farmers. "As we develop the next farm bill, I want to make sure I am armed with information from you about what programs work and what needs to be improved."

Alabama Farmers Federation Southeast Area Vice President Ricky Wiggins was among those who spoke. He said farming is a risky business, adding that farmers need government policy that encourages efficiency, ensures supply, focuses on producer risk, provides an effective safety net and is a bargain to taxpayers. "What we do not need from our government is additional uncertainty," Wiggins said.

Barbour County Farmers Federation Board Member Kenny Childree told Roby the government doesn't need to encourage the reduction of any more cropland.

"If we take farmland out of production, it doesn't need to be planted in trees," said Childree, himself a timber owner. "We have enough trees. If we take land out of crop production, it should be planted in grass so we can convert it back to cropland if it's needed."

Childree and several others spoke against increased governmental regulations on farmers and the apparent influence that radical environmental groups have on conservation policy.

"I need as much protection from invasive species as the government provides for endangered species," Childree said. Roby said she plans to hold additional meetings to learn more about what farmers need in the farm bill.

Tuskegee to host Master Meat Goat training

Tuskegee University is offering an annual Master Goat Producer's Training Certification course Aug. 8-10, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Tuskegee University Caprine Research Education Unit.

New and established producers will receive information about herd health, marketing, nutrition, pasture management, bio-security, bio-terrorism awareness, quality assurance, disaster preparedness and reproductive management.

Contact Marilyn Hooks at mhooks@mytu.tuskegee.edu or (334) 727-8453 for registration and information.

Early registration is $75 and ends July 15. Registration will be $100 after July 15.

Sylacauga celebrates Tomato Sandwich Day

The Sylacauga Farmers Market served fresh tomato sandwiches to more than 400 people during the market's first ever Tomato Sandwich Day, July 8. Farmers, politicians and local businesses formed an assembly line to produce the sandwiches.
Bringing a community together isn't as hard as it may seem - all it takes is bread and tomatoes.

Tomato Sandwich Day, a first-time event for the Sylacauga Farmers Market, brought more than 400 people to Central Park in Sylacauga to make tomato sandwiches, mingle and buy fresh produce from 10 a.m. to noon, July 8.

The farmers market opened last year after the Talladega County Farmers Federation purchased five tents and tables.

"It has really brought the community together," said David Farnsworth, the Farmers Federation's area four organization director. "I was talking to a city councilman the other day, and they think this is the best thing since sliced bread. It's also making people aware of local farmers and their products, which we are always grateful for."

On a normal Friday, vendors pay a $20 fee to sell their produce from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., but the fee for the nine vendors on Tomato Sandwich Day was simply bringing tomatoes.

Blue Bell, Wal Mart, Piggly Wiggly, Heritage South Credit Union and Merita Bread donated the bread, mayonnaise and other supplies.

In addition to the 400 community members who attended, Sen. Jerry Fielding, D-Sylacauga, and Rep. Ron Johnson, R-Sylacauga, had tomato sandwiches as well. They even helped slice the tomatoes, Farnsworth said.

"We were so pleased to have such a great turnout for a farmers market event," Farnsworth said. "We hope people will continue coming out to the farmers market every Friday to get fresh, local, healthy produce for their families."


Harold Russell Phillips of Stevenson, an honorary member of the Jackson County Farmers Federation Board of Directors, died July 7. He was 70.

Survivors include his wife, Ann King Phillips; a daughter, Karen F. Phillips; a son, Russ Phillips (Ann); two sisters, Kathryn Phillips and Frances Crownover; and two grandsons.

Phillips was an active member of Stevenson First United Methodist Church and had been active in county, state, and national farm organizations. He was a past director of the Jackson County Farmers Co-op and Northeast Farm Analysis. He also formerly served as an officer and director in the American Soybean Association and was a founding director and second chairman of the United Soybean Board.

Contributions may be made to Stevenson First United Methodist Church, 204 Nebraska Ave., Stevenson, AL 35772.

Sewell Visits With Farmers

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell of Alabama's 7th Congressional District,. right, recently met with friends and supporters at the Alabama Farmers Federation headquarters. From left are Alabama Peanut Producers Association President Carl Sanders, Alabama Forestry Association Executive Vice President Chris Isaacson, Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry Newby and Sewell.

Membership Growth Committee

Steve Dunn, chairman of the Federation's Membership Growth Committee, center, visits with committee member Shep Morris of Macon County, left, and Terrie Channell, director of the Federation's Accounting and Membership Departments, during the committee's June 30 meeting. The second committee meeting included a presentation by the Alfa Membership Director Marc Pearson about survey results on member benefits as well as the introduction of new affinity partnerships with Sam's Club and Wyndham Hotels. Some committee members also gave reports on interviews they conducted with other state Farm Bureau organizations about efforts to grow membership.

Forestry Recovery Task Force meetings scheduled

The Alabama Forestry Recovery Task Force is holding six public meetings starting July 18 to address the persisting needs of forest landowners who were affected by the April storms.

The dates and locations of the meetings are as follows:
• July 18, Tuscaloosa: Alabama Cooperative Extension System Office, 2513 7th St., County Courthouse Annex.
• July 19, Cullman: Alabama Cooperative Extension System Office, 402 Arnold St. NE, Cullman County Office Building.
• July 21, Gardendale: Gardendale Civic Center, 857 Main St.
• July 25, Pell City: Pell City Civic Center, 2801 Stemley Bridge Road.
• July 26, Dadeville: Alabama Cooperative Extension System Office, 125 North Broadnax St.
• July 28, Livingston: ALFA Environmental Hall, University of West Alabama.
All meetings are from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

For information contact Steve Guy of the Federation's Governmental and Agricultural Programs Department at SGuy@AlfaFarmers.org or call (334) 613-4305.

Fatal Vision

Employees of the Talladega County School System joined Talladega County Farmers Federation board members for a demonstration of the Fatal Vision Workshop aimed at teenage drinking and driving. Alfa Agent Traci Manuel of Sylacauga, right, tries her hand on the course with Talladega County Board Member David Wilson.

Ag Commissioner and senators seek drought declaration

Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan along with State Sen. Bryan Taylor, R-Prattville, and other legislators, is seeking a drought declaration for the state. "I am requesting a review of drought conditions in the state in order to begin the process of declaring a federal drought emergency," said McMillan.

Supporting McMillan's concerns about the drought was a recent crop acreage report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture stating that shows conditions for about one-third of Alabama's leading crops range from poor to very poor. Only 27 percent are rated good or excellent.

"Based on information from the U.S. Drought Monitor, crop acreage reports and other sources, I am recommending to Gov. Bentley that certain counties be considered for a drought disaster declaration," McMillan said.

Taylor, along with fellow senators Jimmy Holley, R-Elba, and Tom Whatley, R-Auburn, who chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, sent a letter in support of a recommendation made by McMillan that Alabama seek emergency federal assistance for farmers.

The letter seeks to secure aid for farmers affected by the severe drought that is gripping eastern and southeastern Alabama.

The USDA Farm Services Agency will assess the governor's request and take action, which in this case would include providing emergency aid to farmers impacted by the drought. The aid can include low-interest loans and certain types of direct assistance, including the SURE disaster program.

Twenty-three counties in Georgia, most in the southwestern part of the state, were recently declared drought disaster areas.

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