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April 04, 2013   Email to Friend  Download PDF of this Issue

March storms pummel state with hail, wind

Cherokee County farmer Danny Neyman, left, discusses storm damage with Alfa Agent Josh Griffith March 19. More than 100 feet of roofing on Neyman’s poultry house blew off during the March 18 storms.

Strong wind and softball-sized hail storms March 18 left a wake of damaged roofs and broken windshields in parts of Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. By April 1, Alfa Insurance received 8,000 claims from the storm.

Fort Payne resident Danny Neyman, who farms in Cherokee County, said straight-line winds ripped more than 100 feet of roofing off a poultry house at Neyman Farms. No birds were lost in the storm.

“We’re lucky the roofing was all the damage we really had,” Neyman said. “We were also lucky we didn’t have any chickens when this happened. Had this happened March 19, we would’ve had a house full [of birds].”

Neyman, a loyal Alfa customer, said he was appreciative of the company’s efforts to streamline his claims process, warding off issues with production.

“When we saw the damage, we called our Alfa agent immediately,” he recalled. “[Josh Griffith] provided an immediate response, and we were able to start repairs the next day.”

Griffith, an agent from Centre, said he never expected the afternoon of March 18 to turn into such a disaster. What began around 4 p.m. as a spring thunderstorm quickly escalated into heavy rains, tree-bending winds and continuous phone calls.

“It’s unusual weather for this time of year,” Griffith said. “Trees were down across the county, roofs and cars were damaged, as were quite a few equipment sheds around area farms. We’ve taken the claims, and adjusters are out there putting checks in our policyholders’ hands.”

For tips and instructions on filing claims, visit AlfaInsurance.com or download the Alfa2Go mobile app.

Farmers to plant more corn, soybeans

Alabama farmers will supplement decreasing cotton and peanut acreages this year with an increase of corn and soybeans, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Released March 28, the Crop Planting Intentions Survey shows farmers intend to plant an additional 20,000 acres of corn this year, or 330,000 acres overall. Soybeans, at 410,000 acres, show an increase of 21 percent above the 340,000 acres planted in 2012. Meanwhile, farmers are expected to plant 360,000 acres of cotton, down 20,000 acres from 2012; and 150,000 acres of peanuts, down 70,000 acres from last year.

Prices are a driving factor behind planting changes, said Alabama Farmers Federation Cotton, Soybeans and Wheat & Feed Grains Director Buddy Adamson.

“For Alabama, the acreage of corn and soybeans will depend on their own prices relative to cotton and peanuts, as well as crop rotation and moisture availability during the respective planting seasons,” he explained.

Additional crop planting intentions for Alabama include winter wheat, up 18 percent from 2012 to 260,000 seeded acres; hay, down 10,000 acres to 850,000 harvested acres; oats, down 10,000 acres to 50,000 acres; and sweet potatoes, down 200 acres to 2,500 acres.

Nationally, America’s farmers are preparing to plant 97.3 million acres of corn, one of the largest crops in history. Visit nass.usda.gov for a complete national planting outlook.

Marshall County students explore area agriculture

Students from Boaz Intermediate School in Marshall County get a first-hand look at the poultry industry during Ag Safety and Farm Day at Cornutt Farms, March 11. Organized by the Boaz High School FFA, the event sought to familiarize fourth- and fifth-grade students on area agriculture.

A few inches of rainfall didn’t deter more than 300 fourth- and fifth-graders from participating in Ag Safety and Farm Day at Cornutt Farms in Marshall County, March 11.

Organized by the Boaz High School FFA chapter, the event taught students about equipment and technology, land conservation, Marshall County agriculture and why it’s important to respect farmers on the road.

“Our FFA chapter spent a lot of time planning this event,” said Kevin Stewart, Boaz High School agriscience teacher. “It’s a great program for the kids, and it’s quite an undertaking... but one that helps our students use what they’ve learned and get some on-farm experience.”

Stewart said while Ag Safety Day is technically an annual event, weather has resulted in cancellations the past two years. This year’s new venue proved beneficial.

“We’re glad to be able to have so many kids out here on our farm, even with the rainy weather,” said Rickey Cornutt, who opened his row crop and cattle farm to the event. “Most of the students here today have no connection to a farm. It’s important they come out and see these things first-hand.”

While the Cornutts’ exhibit focused on farm safety and utilizing technology, two other demonstrations highlighted the state’s poultry industry.

Marshall County Farmers Federation President Mike Carnes and his wife, Regina, who serves on the State Women’s Leadership Committee, spoke with students about their poultry farm. In addition to pictures, the Carnes supplemented their presentation with dozens of eggs.

Charles Music, who owns Sunset Farms and raises chickens for Koch Foods, supplied a tray of baby chicks for students to hold.

“It’s important kids know chickens start somewhere before they reach KFC buckets,” Music said. “This event not only allows kids to interact with farmers, but it allows them to see first-hand what eggs and chickens actually look like. It’s never too early for them to learn where our food comes from and who provides it.”

New tariff could protect Alabama’s catfish industry

A new antidumping tariff and adjustments to pricing of Vietnam’s catfish exports could level the playing field for Alabama’s catfish industry.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., pushed for the tariff, allowing for fair value pricing on frozen fish imports. Duties of 77 cents-per-kilo will be enforced retroactively and include companies that shipped Vietnamese pangasius catfish to the U.S. between August 2010 and July 2011.

“By enforcing our nation’s trade laws and fostering an environment that requires healthy competition, I am confident that our local catfish farms will again be a market leader,” said Sessions. “This decision is a step in the right direction to protect U.S. workers and Alabama’s catfish industry.”

The Commerce Department also announced it would base Vietnamese fish on Indonesian market prices. Previously, the Commerce Department used Bangladeshi data to set the market price for Vietnamese fish fillets, which averaged 60 cents cheaper per pound than domestic fish. American farmers found it difficult to compete, despite offering a higher quality product.

“Using Indonesia as a surrogate country for Vietnam was both a good and right decision for catfish farmers and American consumers,” said Alabama Farmers Federation Catfish Division Director Rick Oates. “Bangladeshi data allowed Vietnamese fish to flood the market at artificially low prices, which caused a significant decline in the market share for our farmers.”

Oates noted the changes make consumers’ decision to buy local easier, which could boost the state’s catfish industry.

“Around 5,800 jobs are dependent on the industry, which contributes $158.2 million to the state’s economy,” he said. “Alabama’s catfish industry is a vital economic engine, especially along the Black Belt.”

Sewell Visits Alabama Farmers Federation

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., visited with Alabama Farmers Federation leaders and constituents at the Federation Headquarters in Montgomery, March 26. From left are Southwest Area Vice President Jake Harper, Hale County Farmers Federation Board Member Townsend Kyser, Sewell, Pike County Farmers Federation Board Member Don Wambles, Federation President Jimmy Parnell and his wife, Robin.

Three stored grain workshops offered in May

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is offering a series of free workshops to help farmers keep insects out of on-farm stored wheat.

Hands-on exercises will show farmers how to calibrate sprayers used to apply insecticides on the grain, how to look for insects in grain and how pockets of wet grain can lead to insect hot spots.

A panel of farmers will discuss tips for effective on-farm grain storage. Grain bin safety, moisture management and choosing the right insecticides will also be discussed.

Attendees will receive extensive handouts, other educational materials and a set of insect traps. Certified Crop Advisor and Pesticide Applicator CEU’s will be available.

Workshops, funded by the Alabama Wheat and Feed Grain Checkoff Committee, are scheduled from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided. Workshop dates and contact information are below:

  • May 7, Ozark — Regional Extension Agent Brandon Dillard at dillaba@auburn.edu
  • May 21, Alexandria — Regional Extension Agent David Derrick at derride@aces.edu
  • May 22, Hillsboro ­— Regional Extension Agent Eric Schavey at ets0003@aces.edu
For workshop addresses or more details, visit the calendar section of http://www.aces.edu.

New Cattlemen Leader

Dallas County Farmers Federation President Jimmy Holliman, above, was elected president of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association March 26. Other officers are President-Elect Woody Clark, Andalusia; Vice President Jim Akin, Lexington; Treasurer L D Fitzpatrick, Hope Hull; and Secretary and Executive Vice President Dr. Billy Powell, Montgomery.

Farmers, agribusiness owners encouraged to file BP oil spill claims

Alabama businesses — including farms — affected by the April 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill may qualify for compensation, according to Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. No direct evidence of the spill’s impact is required.

Claimant compensation for economic and property damages are based on formulas relating to a change in revenues from 2007-2011. To qualify, BP expects applicants to prove a decrease in revenues following the spill and an increase in revenues for 2011. Financials submitted should match income tax statements.

Settlements are based on the loss of profits plus 25 percent. Filing fees will be deducted from qualifying applicants’ settlements, but non-qualifying applicants will not be charged. Attorney representation is not required.

To date, BP has awarded claimants nearly $9 billion in settlements. Approved claimants should receive payment within six months.

For more information, contact a BP Claims Program representative at 1-855-687-2631. To file claims or access claim forms, visit bp.com/claims.

New Women’s Leadership Committee

Alabama Farmers Federation members recently met in Chatom to organize a Women’s Leadership Committee for Washington County. The committee will help promote Alabama agriculture, as well as organizational programs and policies. Seated from left are Diane Williams, Barbara Cooper and Sharon Sikes; standing, Women’s Leadership Division Director Kim Ramsey, Melanie Stokley and Ernestine Taylor.

Managing Woodlands Field Day set for April 18

Longleaf pine restoration, Alabama’s timber market and wildlife resources are the focus of the Managing Woodlands and Wildlife Field Day, April 18 in Evergreen.

Longleaf pine restoration, Alabama’s timber market and wildlife resources are the focus of the Managing Woodlands and Wildlife Field Day, April 18 in Evergreen.

There is no cost to attend, but early registration is encouraged for meal-count purposes. CFE and PLM points are available. To pre-register, call (251) 578-2762 or email brogdeh@auburn.edu.

For more information, visit http://www.longleafalliance.org/events/field-day-managing-woodlands-and-wildlife-in-challenging-times or contact the Conecuh County Extension Office at (251) 578-2762.

The field day will be on Saloom Properties at 2835 Booker Mill Rd., Evergreen, AL 36401.

Farmer 101 Provides Introduction To Agriculture

Cullman County Farmers Federation President Phillip Garrison, left, welcomed more than 40 prospective farmers to his farm March 28. Garrison explained how to make sorghum syrup and raise bees as part of Farmer 101, a nine-session introduction to farming hosted by the Cullman County Extension Service. The course prepares participants for a career in farming with workshops on topics including soil, livestock, management, and fruit and vegetable production.


Billy Sellers, a member of the Montgomery County Farmers Federation board of directors, died March 18. He was 74.

A retired major from the U.S. Army, Sellers was a longtime member of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association and president-elect of the Southeastern Livestock Exposition.

Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth; daughter Fran Pugh (Mike); son William “Joe” Sellers (Amy) and five grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to the following organizations: Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, 201 South Bainbridge Street, Montgomery, AL 36102, or the Pintlala Baptist Church Building Fund, 73 Federal Road, Hope Hull, AL 36043.

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