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October 15, 2013   Email to Friend  Download PDF of this Issue

FarmPAC announces 2013 endorsements

Alabama Farmers Federation Secretary-Treasurer Steve Dunn, left, and Federation President Jimmy Parnell, right, visit with Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey and Gov. Robert Bentley during the FarmPAC meeting Sept. 24 at the Federation home office in Montgomery. FarmPAC members voted to endorse Ivey and Bentley in their 2014 bids for re-election.
The Alabama Farmers Federation’s political action committee, FarmPAC, announced support for incumbents in 2014 state and federal primary elections.

FarmPAC Advisory Trustees met with candidates and made endorsement recommendations at the group’s Sept. 24 meeting at the Federation home office in Montgomery. The Federation expects to consider additional endorsements for statewide 2014 races early next year.

“Alabama is blessed with incumbents who understand the importance of agriculture and share the values of our membership,” said Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “This meeting allowed FarmPAC leaders to make early endorsements and thank state leaders for their work.”

The 2014 primary election is June 3 with primary runoffs set for July 15.

Endorsed Candidates

  • U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions
  • U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, District 2
  • U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, District 3
  • U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, District 4
  • U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, District 5
  • U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, District 7
  • Gov. Robert Bentley
  • Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey
  • Attorney General Luther Strange
  • Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan
  • State Treasurer Young Boozer
  • Justice Greg Shaw, Alabama Supreme Court
  • Judge Scott Donaldson, Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
  • Judge William Thompson, Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
  • Judge Beth Kellum, Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
  • Judge Mary Windom, Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals

Soybean rust found across Alabama

The mild, wet weather in 2013 is responsible for the spread of Asian soybean rust (SBR) disease to all 67 counties in Alabama.

SBR can significantly decrease yields as infected plants have fewer pods with fewer seeds. The disease can defoliate plants in six weeks.

“Soybean rust hit us hard and early this year,” said Auburn University Plant Pathologist Dr. Edward Sikora. “The disease survived the winter more readily on kudzu in south Alabama due to mild temperatures. The relatively cool, wet spring and summer allowed the disease to spread more rapidly than in any year since it arrived in 2004.”

Sikora said he has seen infected Alabama fields with estimated crop losses of 30 to 50 percent. However, he said recent dry weather has decreased crop damage from SBR. 

“From year to year, depending on how weather conditions play out, soybean rust will either be a minor or major problem for growers in the Southeast,” Sikora said.

A report from Sikora stated the best defense against SBR is applying fungicide before no more than 2 percent of the crop is infected.

“Researchers like Dr. Sikora are working hard to control soybean rust,” said Alabama Farmers Federation Soybean Division Director Buddy Adamson. “Soybean growers should check their crop often for signs of the disease and perform timely fungicide applications.”

Visit sbr.ipmpipe.org or call Sikora at (334) 844-5502 for more information.

Crenshaw County Serves Up Camp Stew

Crenshaw County Farmers Federation Secretary-Treasurer Donald Hilburn, right, serves camp stew to Alfa Insurance Agent Jimmy Morgan of Luverne during the county annual meeting Sept. 12. Serving camp stew at the annual meeting has been a tradition for decades.

Peanut festival tickets discounted

Alabama Farmers Federation members can experience all the National Peanut Festival has to offer at a discounted price on Monday, Nov. 4.

Members must present a Federation membership card to receive $5 admission for themselves and family members.  

Special events for Nov. 4 include a border collie demonstration, the Mutton Bustin’ Exhibition and the Calf Scramble and Greased Pig.

The 70th annual National Peanut Festival is Nov. 1-10 in Dothan, Ala., at the fairgrounds on U.S. Highway 231. More than 150,000 people are expected to attend. The festival honors local peanut farmers and celebrates harvest season.

For additional information, visit NationalPeanutFestival.com.

Alfa seals partnership with Blue Cross

Alfa Insurance and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama signed an agreement Oct. 8 to provide Alabamians expanded options for health and dental coverage.

The partnership offers another convenient channel for individuals to purchase Blue Cross health and dental products on and off the Federally Facilitated Exchange.

Open enrollment began Oct. 1 for a Jan. 1, 2014, effective date. Consumers can purchase individual health and dental policies from local Alfa agents at any of the 228 service centers located across Alabama’s 67 counties.

Alfa Insurance President Jimmy Parnell said the partnership with Blue Cross allows Alfa to continue serving customers.

“By working with Blue Cross, Alfa agents can help policyholders navigate the new healthcare law while continuing to meet all their insurance needs,” Parnell said.

Alfa, based in Montgomery, Ala., and its affiliates provide insurance and other financial services to more than 1 million customers in 11 states.

Commodity Corner

The Alabama Pork Producers will serve pork at Auburn University’s Ag Roundup and Taste of Alabama tailgate Oct. 12 at the Ham Wilson Arena from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Admission is $5 or free for children under six. Funds benefit the College of Agriculture scholarship program.
-Guy Hall, division director

Soybean and Wheat & Feed Grains
State Soybean and Wheat & Feed Grains committee leaders recently watched a plot combine demonstration at the Sand Mountain Research and Extension Center in Crossville. Soybean and feed grain checkoff programs partially funded the new, high-tech combine, which will be used for research at the center and on local farms.
-Buddy Adamson, divisions director

The Alabama TREASURE Forest Association (ATFA) board voted to merge with the Alabama Farmers Federation Oct. 4. Both organizations have a history of helping landowners through sharing sound forest management techniques. Classroom in the Forest, ATFA’s signature program, will continue as one of the best forestry education tools for children.
-Rick Oates, division director

The latest effort to open a horse-meat processing facility in New Mexico was delayed by a federal court temporary restraining order. No federal laws ban horse slaughter in the U.S., but state bans and procedural maneuvers caused closure of all facilities by 2007. More than 100,000 horses are shipped to Canada or Mexico for processing each year. Federation policy supports equine harvest processing facilities in the U.S.
-Nate Jaeger, division director

Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod; Horticulture; Bee & Honey
Agritourism attractions gain popularity in the fall and are great ways to share farming heritage while generating additional income. However, operators should be mindful of risks and are encouraged to contact local Alfa agents about agritourism liability coverage.
-Mac Higginbotham, divisions director

Harvest is later than normal due to delayed planting and cool temperatures. Yields and grades are better than originally expected. Reduction in acres will result in a smaller crop in 2013, but 2012 surplus should assure no impact on consumers.
-Randy Griggs, division director

Federation employees announce retirement

Four long-time Alabama Farmers Federation employees have announced retirement.  

They are Cheryl Mitchell, executive secretary to the president; Linda Dennis, administrative secretary to the executive director; Jimmy Carlisle, director of Governmental and Agricultural Programs; and David Smart, director of Destinations.
Federation President Jimmy Parnell said rising interest rates gave employees who are eligible for retirement under Alfa’s pension plan financial incentive to retire this year.

“We are happy these employees are able to enjoy the fruits of their labor, but we will miss their wisdom and experience,” Parnell said. “They served our members and organization with dedication, integrity and resourcefulness. These employees leave a legacy of accomplishments that will benefit members for years to come.

“One of the Federation’s greatest strengths is that our founders chose staff who love agriculture and share their values,” Parnell added. “As the Federation hires new employees, we are looking for bright, hard-working young people who are devoted to our members and believe in our organization’s mission.”

Mitchell started her career at the Federation in 1973 as an administrative assistant in the Commodity Department. She became executive secretary to the president in 1985 and, in 40 years with the company, served three presidents: Goodwin Myrick, Jerry Newby and Jimmy Parnell.

Dennis began working with the Federation in 1987 as administrative assistant to the executive director. She has served in this capacity for 27 years with four executive directors: John H. Dorrill Jr., Doug Rigney, Mike Kilgore and Paul Pinyan.

Carlisle joined the Federation staff in 1978 as the Catfish and Poultry Division Director. He has served as a department director since 2005 when he was named head of Commodity Producer Services.

Smart has been a Federation employee since 1976 when he was hired as advertising and promotions manager. He started Destinations, the company’s in-house travel agency, in 1984 as the Convention and Travel Division. 

These four retirements represent 140 years of experience with the Federation and Alfa Insurance. Their final work day is Nov. 27.

Look for more information about Federation retirees in the November and December issues of Neighbors magazine.

Familiar faces receive promotions

Above, from left, Wendy Golson will be promoted to executive secretary to President Jimmy Parnell and Leanne Worthington will be promoted to administrative secretary to Executive Director Paul Pinyan.
Two familiar faces in the Alabama Farmers Federation were promoted to fill vacancies left by the retirements of Cheryl Mitchell and Linda Dennis.

Wendy Golson will transition to executive secretary to President Jimmy Parnell, taking on full responsibilities in December. She currently serves as the administrative assistant for the Federation’s Governmental Affairs Department.

Golson worked in human resources for Alfa Insurance from 1987 to 1997.  She and her husband Roger live in Prattville. They have two sons, Zach and Matt; a daughter-in-law, Sarah; and two grandchildren.

Leanne Worthington will move from the Organization Department to administrative secretary to Executive Director Paul Pinyan.

Worthington’s  career with Alfa Insurance began in 1986 in the mail room. She moved to the Federation in 1997 as administrative assistant in the Public Relations and Communications Department. She transferred to the Organization Department in 2001.

Worthington and her husband, Kevin, live in Hope Hull. They have three children, Justin, Jarrod and Chelsea and two grandchildren.

Ag Discovery Day at E.V. Smith Research Center

Alabama Farmers Federation State Soybean Committee member Annie Dee, right, talked with students at Auburn’s Ag Discovery Day Sept. 28 at the E.V. Smith Research Center. The Federation State Cotton, Soybean and Wheat & Feed Grain committees helped sponsor the event.

Annual Meeting

Registration for the Alabama Farmers Federation 92nd annual meeting in Montgomery Dec. 5-6 is now open. Registration information is available at AlfaFarmers.org. Registration is due Oct. 31.

College And Career Ready Task Force

College and Career Ready Task Force member and Alabama Farmers Federation Young Farmers Director Jennifer Himburg, left, reviews a pamphlet with Task Force Chairman Dr. Philip Cleveland. The group met at the Federation home office Oct. 2 to discuss improving students’ transitions from high school to careers or higher education.

Agency makes hunting reports voluntary

Hunters will not be required to report deer or turkey harvests for the 2013- 2014 season due to a rule change at the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR). Instead, participation in ADCNR’s new “Game Check” program will be voluntary.

The department’s Conservation Advisory Board (CAB) previously established mandatory reporting requirements for deer and turkey harvests, but the board recently reversed the decision for at least the first year of the system.

CAB members have said collected data will improve decisions on season dates and bag limits.

The “Game Check” system will be available on the first day of bow season, Oct. 15. Voluntary reports may be made at OutdoorAlabama.com/GameCheck; through the Outdoor Alabama app; or by calling 800-888-7690.

The Alabama Farmers Federation State Wildlife Committee supports a reporting system as a tool for improved local wildlife management.

Jimmersons Honored With Bill Moody Award

Alabama TREASURE Forest Association (ATFA) President Billy Blackwell, right, presented the 2013 Bill Moody Award to Jimmy and Sue Jimmerson of Cleburne County at the ATFA’s annual conference Oct. 4 in Ozark. The award recognizes individuals who support the ATFA and the TREASURE Forest Program. Jimmy Jimmerson is first vice president of the Cleburne County Farmers Federation.

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