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November 18, 2013   Email to Friend  Download PDF of this Issue

Koch Foods Expands In East Alabama

Randolph County farmer Greg Daniel, center, gives Alfa Insurance Farm Agricultural Specialist Shane Wootten, left, and Alabama Farmers Federation Poultry Division Director Guy Hall a tour of one of the poultry houses under construction at his Clearview Farms in Newell, Ala. Daniel grows for Koch Foods, which needs 120 to 150 more houses to meet increased demand.

Randolph County farmer Greg Daniel’s poultry operation is growing thanks to increased production at the Koch Foods poultry processing plant in Pine Mountain Valley, Ga. The plant needs 120 to 150 more poultry houses to meet expansion demands.  

“When you look at the two new houses behind me, that’s my American dream,” said Daniel, who will more than double capacity at his Clearview Farms in Newell.

Before construction began, Daniel needed a federally-required Comprehensive Waste Management System Plan (CWMSP). With a price tag of more than $1,000, state agencies joined forces to help farmers fund their individual plans.

The Coosa Valley Resource and Conservation Development Council in Oxford received state grants to, in-part, fund CWMSPs for houses built in east Alabama for the expansion.

“We appreciate the partnership between private industry and state and federal agencies to fund these plans,” said Alabama Farmers Federation Poultry Division Director Guy Hall. “Technical service providers write the plans which are required before building new houses. The plans ensure best management practices are followed to protect water quality.”

Alfa Insurance Farm Agricultural Specialist Shane Wootten said farmers also should contact Alfa before building.

“Alfa is excited to offer competitive policies for newly constructed poultry houses,” Wootten said. “Sometimes, talking to an insurance provider can be an afterthought, but an agent or adjuster can offer suggestions to save farmers money on premiums.”

According to a recent study, the poultry industry has a $15.1 billion impact on Alabama’s economy and employs more than 86,000 people.


Washington Focuses On Farm Legislation

Work on national farm legislation has resumed after the two-week federal government shutdown.

The Farm Bill Conference Committee began meeting to reconcile differences between the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives plans. U.S. Reps. Mike Rogers and Martha Roby, R-Ala., serve on the committee.

“This is great news for our farmers who are considering 2014 planting decisions and need to know what programs will be available,” said Alabama Farmers Federation National Legislative Programs Director Mitt Walker. “While the committee still has a big job to accomplish, farmers are hopeful we’ll have a new farm bill by year’s end.”

Another bill will improve U.S. waterways, important for shipping agricultural goods. The House passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) Oct. 24.

WRRDA is an American Farm Bureau Federation priority and includes increased funding for port maintenance and dredging. The bill now moves to a conference committee with the Senate.

Alabama poultry farmers applauded an Oct. 23 U.S. district court decision favoring West Virginia farmer Lois Alt. A judge ruled that stormwater surrounding Alt’s poultry houses is exempt from permit requirements. Alt filed the lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency after being threatened with $37,500 in fines.

For more national legislation updates, visit the Alfa Farmers D.C. Report blog at AlfaFarmersDC.com.


More Federation Employees To Retire

The Alabama Farmers Federation will have a different look after Nov. 27 as nine employees retire.

In addition to retirements announced in the October Cultivator, Buddy Adamson, Cotton, Soybean and Wheat & Feed Grains Divisions director; Ralph Golden, Area 5 Organization director; Randy Griggs, Peanut Division director; Tom Jones, Area 1 Organization director; and Brenda Morrow, Federation receptionist, will retire.

“We are so grateful for the work these retiring employees devoted to our farmers and policyholders,” said Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan. “This is an exciting time for the soon-to-be retirees and our organization as we use their guidance to continue serving members.”

Adamson joined the Federation in 1982 as the Soybean Division director and later took on responsibility for the Wheat & Feed Grains Division, Cotton Division and the Alabama Cotton Commission.

Hired as director of the Rural Property Protection Division in 1978, Golden transitioned to Young Farmers director before being named an organization director in 1989.

Griggs was hired in 1978 as director of the Horticulture and Export Development Divisions. He was named Peanut Division director in 1982.

Jones started his career with Alfa Insurance in 1977 as a claims adjuster and later became an area organization director in the Federation.

Morrow has served as the face and voice of Alfa since starting her career as receptionist in 1987.

Along with Cheryl Mitchell, Linda Dennis, Jimmy Carlisle and David Smart, the nine retiring employees represent more than 300 years of experience with the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance.

They will be honored at the opening session of the Federation annual meeting Dec. 5. Read more about the retirees in the December issue of Neighbors.


Bentley To Address Federation Annual Meeting

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley will join more than 1,200 farmers from across the state for the Alabama Farmers Federation 92nd annual meeting in Montgomery Dec. 5-6.

The Friday morning general session will feature an address from Bentley and an awards presentation where longtime Colbert County Farmers Federation President L.O. Bishop will be honored as the Service to Agriculture recipient.

Bishop was first elected president in 1967, making him one of the longest serving county presidents in the American Farm Bureau Federation.

The Cherokee County Herald also will be honored with the Communications Award for excellence in sharing the story of farming.

The meeting ends Friday night with a keynote address from Fox News Channel commentator John Bolton. FarmPAC members who contributed more than $200 may attend a private reception for photos with Bolton that evening.

Other conference events include the annual pop tab collection; exhibits; Women’s Leadership Committee and Young Farmers meetings; the Roots & Boots concert featuring Aaron Tippin, Joe Diffie and Sammy Kershaw; announcement of the 2013 Outstanding Young Farm Family and Discussion Meet winners; and the Young Farmers Silent Auction.


Sumter County Hosts Appreciation Tailgate

Sumter County Farmers Federation members handed out BBQ bag lunches before the Oct. 10 University of West Alabama (UWA) football game against Valdosta State. Above, UWA Athletics Director Stan Williamson, right, shares an animated conversation with county members and caterers Bill Mason, left, and Lynard Mosely during the membership appreciation tailgate .




Auburn Plans Corn And Wheat Short Course

Auburn University is hosting the Alabama Corn and Wheat Short Course Dec. 16 and 17 at the E.V. Smith Research Center in Shorter.

Topics include spacing and planting; nitrogen, pest and weed management; marketing; and storage.

The event is free. Call (334) 844-3899 or email hollokm@auburn.edu to RSVP.

For more information, contact Brenda Ortiz at (334) 844-5534 or email bortiz@auburn.edu.


Young Farmers Silent Auction Reminder

  • County Young Farmers groups are asked to donate two items valued at $50 or more for the silent auction at the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 92nd annual meeting Dec. 5-6 in Montgomery.
  • Suggested items include artwork, truck accessories, gift baskets, tools and farm toys.
  • Auction benefits the Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation.


Hill Recognized In Southeast Hay Contest

Alabama Farmers Federation State Hay & Forage Committee Chairman Wade Hill earned awards in two categories of the 2013 Southeastern Hay Contest. The Danville, Ala., farmer won second place in perennial cool season grass hay and grass baleage.

More than 100 entries from 13 states were received and scored on “relative forage quality,” which measures fiber digestibility. Winners were announced in October during the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Ga.

The contest is sponsored by university Cooperative Extension offices in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Visit GeorgiaForages.com for more information.


Post Farm-City Photos

National Farm-City week is Nov. 24-30. Share photos of county Farm-City events on the Alabama Farmers Federation Facebook page at Facebook.com/AlabamaFarmers.


Educating Consumers at Sunbelt Ag Expo

Alabama Farmers Federation State Meat Goat & Sheep Committee Second Vice Chairman Stacey Nestor, second from left, and Federation Meat Goat & Sheep Division Director Nate Jaeger handed out jerky and wool products at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Ga., Oct. 15-17.




Commodity Corner

Peanuts
Growers are pleased with yields as harvest winds down. Some farmers experienced loses in individual fields due to higher-than-normal rainfall. The government shutdown caused loan payment processing delays, and producers await a new farm bill.
-Randy Griggs, division director

Dairy, Poultry, Pork
The Alabama Farmers Federation has asked farm bill conferees, including U.S. Reps. Martha Roby and Mike Rogers, R-Ala., to support an amendment by U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. The provision protects interstate commerce of agricultural products.
-Guy Hall, divisions director

Cotton, Soybean, Wheat & Feed Grains
Alabama cotton yields are better than expected with reports of 820 pounds per acre, 48 pounds above the five-year average. Soybean yield estimates are above average at 43 bushels an acre.
State corn yields set a record with an average of 150 bushels per acre, which farmers hope will make up for lower prices. Wheat planting has started, depending on price and available soil moisture.
-Buddy Adamson, divisions director

Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod; Horticulture; Bee & Honey
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking public comment on the Produce Rule and Preventative Control Rule of the new Food Safety Modernization Act. The American Farm Bureau Federation will submit comments based on states’ input. Visit FDA.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/default.htm to read the proposed rule.
-Mac Higginbotham, divisions director

Meat Goat & Sheep
Hair sheep shed their coats annually and are gaining popularity among breeders. Those with tropical origins have higher reproduction rates, parasite resistance and tolerance for heat and humidity than wool breeds. Hair sheep breeds include Dorper, Katahdin and Barbados Blackbelly. Contact your county Meat Goat & Sheep chair to learn more.
-Nate Jaeger, division director

Wildlife, Forestry
The State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ voluntary “Game Check” program has received more than 1,400 deer reports since Oct. 15.
The Alabama Forestry Commission continues its search to replace retiring State Forester Linda Casey.
-Rick Oates, divisions director


Kids Dig National Peanut Festival

The Houston County Farmers Federation brought its “Farmer For A Day” booth to the Alabama National Peanut Festival in Dothan Nov. 1-10. Children learned about Alabama-produced commodities through hands-on activities like milking a cow. More than 200,000 people walked through the gates for this year’s festival.




County Federations Win National Awards

Creativity and innovation helped the Farmers Federations in Lee and Walker counties win the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) County Activities of Excellence (CAE) program.

The Lee County Farmers Federation was recognized for its  “Agricultural Fair,” held in Opelika June 8 with more than 4,000 attendees. The Walker County Farmers Federation won for  “Sharing Agriculture in Education: Books, Red Barns and Blue Jackets,” where 19 schools and libraries received agricultural books and bookshelves built by local FFA chapters.

Delegates from both county Federations will showcase the award-winning events at AFBF’s 95th Annual Convention in San Antonio, Texas, Jan. 12-15.

The Alabama Farmers Federation will be recognized at the AFBF annual convention with Excellence Awards in Education & Outreach, Leadership Development, Member Services, Policy Development & Implementation and Public Relations & Communications.


State FFA Students Attend National Convention

More than 600 Alabama FFA students traveled to Louisville, Ky., Oct. 30-Nov. 2 for the National FFA Convention and Expo. Above, members of Cottonwood High School FFA welcomed guests to the Alabama exhibit, including Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell, second from left. Among convention highlights, University of Alabama student Jackson Harris of Eufaula was elected National Southern Region vice president. The National FFA Organization has more than 575,000 student members from 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.




OBITUARIES

Cecil Owen Tanner, a member of the Mobile County Farmers Federation, died Oct. 12. He was 89.

Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Mae Brannan Tanner; a son, Gordon Tanner; daughters Carol Barry (Bill), Cecile Haddock, Marcia Korver (Bill) and Ruth Sheffield (Duane); seven grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and a sister, Marie Tanner McLeod.

Memorials may be made to Tanner-Williams United Methodist Church Building Fund, 1550 Grand Bay Wilmer Rd. North, Mobile, AL 36608.

Dianne Gresham Nall, a former Alabama Farmers Federation Women’s Leadership Committee chairman, died Nov. 5. She was 62.

Survivors include her son, Andrew Nall (Anna); daughter Sarah Nall; brother Perry Gresham; sister Carolyn Frances Albritton; and three grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to Pilots for Christ or Gulfcoast Cancer Center in Monroeville.



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