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December 12, 2013   Email to Friend  Download PDF of this Issue

Federation Elects New Board Members

Seated, from left, are District 2 Director Paul Looney, Limestone County; State Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Sharon Byrd, Dale County; State Young Farmers Chairman Allie Corcoran, Barbour County; and District 11 Director Sammy Gibbs, Escambia County. Standing, from left, are Secretary-Treasurer Steve Dunn, Conecuh County; Central Area Vice President Dean Wysner, Randolph County; Southwest Area Vice President Jake Harper, Wilcox County; District 5 Director Joe Roberts, Fayette County; and District 8 Director Dan Robertson, Perry County.
Nearly 500 voting delegates elected officers and district directors at the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 92nd annual meeting in Montgomery Dec. 6.

Steve Dunn of Conecuh County was re-elected secretary-treasurer, while Jake Harper of Wilcox County and Dean Wysner of Randolph County retained seats as area vice presidents for the Southwest Area and Central Area, respectively. Officers serve two-year terms.

Harper’s area includes Baldwin, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Dallas, Escambia, Hale, Lowndes, Marengo, Mobile, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Sumter, Washington and Wilcox counties. Wysner’s area includes Autauga, Bibb, Calhoun, Chilton, Clay, Cleburne, Fayette, Greene, Jefferson, Lamar, Pickens, Randolph, Shelby, St. Clair, Talladega, Tuscaloosa and Walker counties.

Paul Looney of Limestone County succeeds Ted Grantland of Morgan County as District 2 director for Limestone, Madison and Morgan counties.

Joe Roberts of Fayette County succeeds John Walker III of Tuscaloosa County as District 5 director for Bibb, Fayette, Jefferson, Lamar and Tuscaloosa counties.

Dan Robertson of Perry County succeeds Dickie Odom of Greene County as District 8 director for Choctaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Marengo, Perry, Pickens and Sumter counties.

Escambia County’s Sammy Gibbs succeeds David Bitto of Baldwin County as District 11 director for Baldwin, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Monroe, Mobile and Washington counties.

Directors serve three-year terms.

Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Sharon Byrd of Dale County and State Young Farmers Chairman Allie Corcoran of Barbour County will serve one-year ex-officio terms on the board.


Roby Appointed To Appropriations

Alabama Congressman Martha Roby accepted a seat on the House Appropriations Committee Dec. 4.

“I am honored to accept this position,” said Roby, who represents Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. “Appropriations has oversight on the whole range of government spending. This new role provides a unique opportunity to push for the kind of conservative spending that will put us on a sustainable financial path for future generations.”

With this appointment, Roby will no longer serve on the House committees for Agriculture, Armed Services or Education and Workforce. However, she said she remains committed to supporting the district’s military, agricultural and educational interests.

“After numerous discussions with senior colleagues in Congress and stakeholders in my state, I’m convinced having a seat on the Appropriations Committee will afford me more — not less — influence on issues that matter to the people of Alabama’s 2nd District,” she said.

Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell said Roby’s conservative wisdom will be missed on the House Agriculture Committee.

“Congressman Roby has done an outstanding job representing farmers the last three years,” Parnell said. “While we regret losing such a strong advocate on the agriculture committee, I believe serving on Appropriations will allow her to continue being a great champion of Alabama farmers.”


Silent Auction A Hit At Annual Meeting

Alabama Farmers Federation members placed bids on various items during the silent auction at the organization’s 92nd annual meeting in Montgomery Dec. 5-6. The event raised $9,975 for the Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation. The highest bids were placed on a fish cooker at $345, a cooler at $335 and a chainsaw at $320.




Auction, Raffle Benefit Agriculture Foundation

A silent auction and gun raffle hosted by the Alabama Farmers Federation, Dec. 5-6, raised more than $18,000 to support the Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation.

County Federations from across the state donated more than 100 items for the silent auction at the organization’s 92nd annual meeting. Excited bidders took home treasures and donated $9,975 to the foundation.

The gun raffle raised $8,475 for the foundation. Sam Givhan of Dallas County won the shotgun, valued at more than $2,245, at the Dec. 6 dinner. 

The foundation supports charitable, educational and scientific endeavors related to agriculture, including Alabama Ag in the Classroom and Federation scholarships.


Givhan Wins Gun Raffle

Dallas County Farmers Federation 2nd Vice President Sam Givhan, right, was the lucky winner of a 20-gauge over-under Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I shotgun valued at $2,245. His entry was drawn from more than 2,250 tickets at the Dec. 6 dinner of the Federation’s 92nd annual meeting in Montgomery. Federation President Jimmy Parnell presented the gun to Givhan.




No Farm Bill Until 2014

Alabama farmers will have to wait until 2014 for a farm bill, according to U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla.

Lucas said the conference committee is making progress, but still needs to address a number of issues.

“I am confident we’ll work through (the issues) and finish a farm bill in January,” Lucas said.

He said he is working on legislation for a short-term farm bill extension.

“(This will) allow us to finish our work without the threat that permanent law will be implemented,” he said. “Having this option on the table is the responsible thing to do in light of our tight deadline.”

Senate leaders have said they do not plan to extend the current farm bill.

According to a release from the House Agriculture Committee, the 2002 farm bill was extended six times before a new bill was approved in 2008. The House is scheduled to recess Dec. 13.

Visit AlfaFarmersDC.com for more federal government updates.


Cattlemen Ask For “Yes” Vote On Checkoff

Beef producers will vote Dec. 18 at county Extension offices on continuing the voluntary state checkoff program.

The Alabama Cattlemen’s Association (ACA) manages the fund used for promotion, education and research. Producers currently pay $1 per head to the Alabama Beef Checkoff when selling cattle.

“We need the (checkoff program) to stay progressive in Alabama,” said ACA President Jimmy Holliman. “(It’s) voluntary, so cattle producers who don’t support it can get their money back.”

In a release, ACA asked producers to vote “Yes.” Visit BamaBeef.org for more information.


Federation Hires New Staff Members

The Alabama Farmers Federation recently welcomed three new employees. From left are area organization directors Josh Melson and Bradley Cox and administrative assistant for the Governmental and Agricultural Programs Department Deborah Long.
The Alabama Farmers Federation recently welcomed three new employees.

Josh Melson and Bradley Cox, both 2012 graduates of Auburn University, joined the field staff as area organization directors. Melson replaces Tom Jones, who retired Nov. 27, and Cox replaces Matthew Durdin, who is now Federation state legislative programs director for the Senate. They will serve Area 1 and Area 2, respectively, until all field staff positions have been filled.

“The Federation stands for the same values I have,” Melson said. “I look forward to working alongside Federation staff and our farmers. It’s a great journey ahead.”

Melson was a Federation scholarship recipient at Auburn. He lives in Somerville with his wife, Mary, and their daughter, Ellie.

Cox, an Arab native, now lives in Fayette. He formerly taught ag at Fayette County High School.

“The most important function the Federation serves is being an advocate for farmers,” Cox said. “I’m proud to be part of a group that defends the rights of farmers. I look forward to working with county leaders and visiting our members.”

Deborah Long started work Nov. 20 as the Governmental and Agricultural Programs Department administrative assistant. She replaces Wendy Golson who is now executive secretary.

Long previously worked for Alfa Insurance.

“After being gone for 16 years, the Federation has been so welcoming,” she said. “This is a great group of people. It’s an honor to serve this organization and to be back with my Alfa family.”

A Georgia native, Long has two children and two grandchildren.


Morgan County Hosts Farm Field Day

Morgan County Farmers Federation board member and regional Extension agent Mike Reeves explains farm machinery history to third graders during the county’s Farm Field Day at the Celebration Arena in Priceville Nov. 25. More than 400 third-grade students attended.




Commodity Corner

Dairy
Alabama dairy producers anxiously await a new farm bill. They favor a voluntary risk management program with flexible gross margin protection and limited market stabilization components over the current dairy support and Milk Income Loss Contract programs.
On a positive note, feed prices are down, and milk prices are stronger than last year.
-Guy Hall, division director

Beef
Current USDA herd estimates for Jan. 1, 2014, are 1 percent lower than 2013. Demand for replacement heifers is high, and bred heifers average about $1,800 each. These figures support calf prices, but also indicate cow herd expansion is not yet underway.
-Nate Jaeger, division director

Bee & Honey
The Alabama Farmers Federation adopted a resolution to name the queen honeybee the state agricultural insect during the organization’s 92nd annual meeting. To make it official, the Alabama Legislature must approve the measure. This designation would boost educational opportunities for honeybees.
-Mac Higginbotham, division director

Catfish
The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will soon send questionnaires to catfish producers for the 2013 Census of Aquaculture. Questions include production methods, water acreage, production and sales. The last census was in 2005. Information collected will provide insight into the state of the U.S. aquaculture industry.
-Rick Oates, division director


Register For Upcoming Conferences



Byrne Visits Federation

Bradley Byrne, who has been endorsed by the Alabama Farmers Federation in the race for U.S. Representative for Alabama’s 1st Congressional District, visited Federation leaders Dec. 3. Byrne, left, met with Federation and Alfa President Jimmy Parnell, center, and Federation National Legislative Programs Director Mitt Walker.




Jim Cravey Named Interim Director Of Peanut Division

Jim Cravey, who retired as Alabama Farmers Federation commodity director in 2004, was recently named the Federation’s Peanut Division interim director.

Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan made the appointment, calling Cravey a “natural choice” for the position vacated by Randy Griggs, who retired Nov. 27 after 35 years with the Federation.

“Jim’s knowledge and love of the Federation is invaluable,” Pinyan said. “He will work on a temporary basis as we seek to fill the position permanently.”

Cravey, who has a family farm near Florala, lives in Shalimar, Fla., and will work at the Alabama Peanut Producers Association office in Dothan. He said he welcomes the opportunity to serve Alabama farmers again.

“I’m excited about helping the organization during this transition,” said Cravey, a native of Covington County. “I look forward to working with the peanut farmers across Alabama.”


Pop Tab Dynasty

With 437 pounds of pop tabs, the Elmore County Women’s Leadership Committee won the “Most Pop Tabs Collected” Award for the third straight year at the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 92nd annual meeting Dec. 6. County Women’s Leadership Committees from across Alabama collected 2,317 pounds of aluminum pop tabs in the contest. Elmore County members are, front row, from left, Sara Geddie, Becky Edgar, Jo Ann Jeffcoat, County Women’s Leadership Chairman Betty Barrett, Sarah Matthews and Bonnie Wilson; back row, from left, Sarah Teal, Patty Lambrecht, Norma Davis and Jeanette Tew.



OBITUARY

David E. Williams, a member of the Cherokee County Farmers Federation, died Nov. 22. He was 78.

Survivors include his wife, Annie Ruth White Williams; daughters Shelby Ann Ferguson (Avery), Sheila Rosser (Charles), Sarah Williams (Jeff Gossett) and Suzette Gallant (Brad); 10 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; four brothers; and four sisters.



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