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September 24, 2012   Email to Friend 

Monsanto donations help rebuild four tornado-damaged ag programs

To help schools rebuild from the April 2011 tornadoes, Monsanto donated $50,000 to the agriculture departments at four Alabama high schools. Phil Campbell High School, Hackleburg High School, Bibb County Career Academy and Plainview High School each received $12,500. Above, Monsanto Regional Business Director Dion McBay, front right, presents Phil Campbell High School agriscience teacher Jonathan King with a check at the site of the former ag classroom. King’s seventh-grade class were also present for the donation.
Four Alabama high schools still recovering from damage sustained by the April 2011 tornadoes received donations from Monsanto Sept. 12 to help rebuild their agriscience programs.

Agriculture departments at Phil Campbell High School in Franklin County, Hackleburg High School in Marion County, Bibb County Career Academy and Plainview High School in DeKalb County each received $12,500. Bibb County Career Academy was heavily damaged by the storms, while departments at the other schools were completely destroyed.

“This money is given freely for the departments to do what is needed most to get the ag classrooms and shops back up and running,” said Dion McBay, regional business director for Monsanto. McBay is an Alabama native whose hometown of Albertville was hit by an EF-3
tornado in April 2010.

The Alabama Farmers Federation and the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries assisted Monsanto in locating schools for the donations.

At Phil Campbell High School, the only trace of the former agriculture classroom is a concrete slab. Since the storms, teachers and students have adjusted to a network of trailers and hallways serving as classrooms and offices.

“We have a double-wide,” said agriscience teacher Jonathan King. “On one end, we built work tables. We use jigsaws, drills, electric sanders and small hand tools so we can still do woodworking, and we can still do small building projects. The other end serves as the classroom.”

While using a trailer as a workshop is challenging, some worries for the agriculture department have been put to rest with the Monsanto donation. King said he hopes to purchase new equipment with the funds.

“It’s a big help as far as being able to afford things,” King said. “This is going to allow us to buy more technologically advanced tools, other than having the standard stuff.”

Hackleburg High School agriscience teacher Kristin Nunley said she was overwhelmed by the contribution.

“Being in a farming community, kids really do understand how important this ag program is to our city,” Nunley said. “I feel this donation is going to a very good cause and to some great kids who are going to do great things with it.”

Nunley said her department will use the money to replace equipment. The remaining funds will go directly to the students to help pay for FFA events and supplies.

Monsanto is based in St. Louis, Mo. For more information, visit Monsanto.com.

Career Tech Education Programs Discussed

Alabama Department of Education Career and Technical Development Director Phillip Cleveland, center, met with Alabama Farmers Federation staff members Sept. 17 to discuss how the organization can enhance its involvement in the state’s career tech programs. During the 2012 legislative session, the Federation supported the Career Tech Initiative, which dedicated a portion of its $2.3 million-funding to agriscience programs. Seated from left are: Federation President Jerry Newby; Cleveland and Federation Young Farmers Director Jennifer Himburg; standing from left are Governmental and Agricultural Programs Assistant Director Brian Hardin and Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan.

Tuskegee University’s Open Goat Show Oct. 27

Youth exhibitors interested in goat breeding classes, market classes and showmanship are encouraged to attend the annual Tuskegee University Youth Open Goat Show Oct. 27 at the Caprine Research and Education Unit.

Registration and weigh-ins are 10 a.m. to noon, and events begin at 1 p.m. The show is open to all Alabama youth exhibitors under age 19.

Goat showmanship classes are $5 per entry, while breeding doe classes are $10. Market goat classes are also $10 per entry.

To register, mail checks to TU Prevet Club, c/o Dr. Nar Gurung, 207 Milbank Hall, CAENS, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee AL 36088.

Entry forms must be postmarked by October 22. Late entries will be charged double the stated amount.

To access entry forms online, visit http://drkarkiu.blogspot.com/2012/09/tuskegee-university-youth-goat-show.html.

For more information, contact Gurung at ngurung@mytu.tuskegee.edu or (334) 727-8457.

Two new faces join Alabama Farmers Federation’s staff

The Alabama Farmers Federation’s Departments of Organization and Governmental & Agricultural Programs have hired two employees to fill vacancies left earlier this year.

Jennifer Himburg joined the Federation’s Department of Organization Sept. 17 and serves as the Young Farmers director. Prior to joining Alfa, Himburg worked with Cargill Ag Horizons in Indiana as a farm marketer.

Federation Organization Department Director Mike Tidwell said Himburg’s passion for agriculture and the FFA program made her an excellent choice for this new position.

“Jennifer’s tenure with Cargill and her experience as a state and national FFA officer have given her a perspective of agriculture that will be extremely valuable to the Alabama Farmers Federation,” said Tidwell. “She has developed strong leadership skills, and her impact will be felt throughout the organization.”

A native of Ariton, Ala., Himburg earned a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Communication from Auburn University. She resides in the town of Pike Road.

Joining the Federation’s Department of Governmental and Agricultural Programs is Wendy Golson, who began her position as administrative assistant Sept. 20.

Governmental and Agricultural Programs (GAP) Department Director Jimmy Carlisle said Golson’s previous work experience with Alfa Insurance coupled with an extensive background with budgets and board policy will serve her well in this new role.

“Wendy’s experience gives her a working knowledge of the history and goals of a company that has its roots in helping farmers and rural communities,” said Carlisle. “Her research, computer and organizational skills, as well as her creative writing abilities, made Golson a perfect fit for the Federation.”

In addition to working alongside GAP Assistant Director Brian Hardin and Federation Agricultural Legislation Director David Cole, Golson will assist Commodity Division Directors Mac Higginbotham, Nate Jaeger and Rick Oates.

Golson and her husband, Roger, live in Prattville. They have two sons, Zack and Matt.

Students Embrace Agricultural Education With Learning Barns

Holtville High School agriscience teacher Scott Poague and students Devin Sanders and Josh Ward built six learning barns for the Elmore County Farmers Federation’s Women’s Leadership Committee. Serving as a colorful way to emphasize agricultural education, the county Women’s Leadership Committee donated the barns — each stocked with 30 agricultural books — to public elementary schools in Elmore County in September. During the Sept. 17 presentation to Holtville Elementary School, Tami Baldomero’s kindergarten students were also presented with coloring books that promote agriculture. Pictured from left are, back row, Sanders; Elmore County Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Betty Barrett, and Women’s Leadership Committee members Sarah Teal and Sara Geddie.

Alabama ‘Well Grounded’ at Sunbelt Ag Expo, Oct. 16-18

For the fourth time in Sunbelt Ag Expo’s 35-year history, Alabama will be the spotlight state at the 2012 farm show in Moultrie, Ga., Oct. 16-18. While state officials say the first three were great, the fourth time around will be a spotlight to remember.

Operating off the theme of Alabama Agriculture — Well Grounded, this year’s expo exhibit will reflect that all things related to farming and agriculture begin with a good foundation that includes the men and women who care for the soil, air and water necessary to sustain life.

“Our theme focuses on the fact that Alabama agriculture is well grounded in many areas, including history, technology, diversity, stewardship and productivity,” said Alabama Farmers Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan, who co-chairs the Alabama Spotlight State Committee with Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan.

Pinyan said Alabama’s Spotlight State tent is a must-see. From a unique and colorful living display entrance featuring Alabama-grown products to an interactive world inside the tent, the distinctive, modern flair will surely pique the interests of young and old visitors alike.

“In addition to other informational displays around the tent, the Alabama Grocers Association will display food items and will have coupons and samples of some of the best-tasting food in America that’s made right here in Alabama,” added Pinyan.

Included within three full days of events, seminars, presentations and field demonstrations is the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year announcement. Representing Alabama this year is Dallas County farmer Sam Givhan. The winner will be announced Oct. 16.

Young farmers and their families attending the expo Oct. 17, are encouraged to participate in the barbecue cooking contest, horseshoe-pitching tournament, and an evening reception and dinner. Door prizes and entertainment will accompany the dinner.

Titan/Goodyear and the Georgia FFA Foundation will hold tire auctions Tuesday and Wednesday. Proceeds from the auction benefit Georgia’s FFA activities.

Sunbelt Ag Expo Director Chip Blalock encourages all farmers, agribusiness owners and anyone interested in agriculture to attend the special anniversary event.

“Everyone who farms will enjoy coming to our show,” said Blalock. “If you need a new tractor or combine, a new seed variety, or if you want to start a new farming enterprise, the expo is the place to be.”

Gates open at 8:30 a.m. each day. Admission is $10 per person or $20 for a three-day ticket. Children 12 and under are free.

To access an itinerary, or to download the official Sunbelt Ag Expo smartphone app, visit SunbeltExpo.com.

State’s Water Resources Discussed

Members of the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Water Resource Planning Committee discussed the development of a state water policy during a Sept. 20 meeting in Montgomery. From left are Autauga County Farmers Federation President Andy Wendland, Alabama Water Agencies Working Group Legal Subcommittee Chairman Bennett Bearden, Water Resource Planning Committee Chairman Brian Glenn and Federation Director of Governmental and Agricultural Programs Jimmy Carlisle.

Members save money on Oct. 7 Talladega tickets

Alabama Farmers Federation members planning to attend the Oct. 7 NASCAR race at Talladega Superspeedway can save money on tickets thanks to an exclusive Federation member benefit with the world’s largest superspeedway.

Discounted tickets can be purchased online for the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500. Qualifying seats will be in the O.V. Hill North Grandstand area, and members will save $25 per ticket off the normal price.

“These are significant savings for our valued members who plan to attend this spectacular fall event,” said Marc Pearson, director of membership. “This is just one way we are continuing to enhance the relevance and value of member benefits. Enjoy the race and the savings.”

To receive the discounted tickets, purchase tickets online at TalladegaSuperspeedway.com/alfaoffer. For questions, call 1-877-GO2-DEGA.

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