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August 20, 2004   Email to Friend 

Alfa Helps American Village Preserve Agricultural Heritage
Jeff Helms

Alfa Farmers President Jerry Newby, right, helps dedicate a renovated barn at the American Village in Montevallo. From left are American Village Founder and Director Tom Walker, American Village Board of Trustees Chairman Gordon Martin, historical interpreter Abigail Adams and Newby.
Thousands of Alabama students and tourists are discovering the important role of agriculture in the history of the United States thanks to a $250,000 donation from Alfa Insurance, the Alabama Farmers Federation and individual county farmers federations throughout the state. The money was used to renovate a historic barn that was dedicated July 30 at the American Village in Montevallo.

Alfa President Jerry A. Newby said the dedication of the barn marked the culmination of work that began two years ago when Alfa and county farmers federations across the state agreed to fund the renovation. "Our group believes in God and country, and we want to help pass that message on to as many of our young people as possible," said Newby. "The American Village does an extraordinary job of providing citizenship education to school children as well as adults. We are delighted to be able to help them in that effort by renovating this symbol of America's agricultural heritage."

The renovated barn houses a learning center that can accommodate 200 visitors and will serve as an all-purpose space for wedding receptions, rainy day lunches, theatrical performances, musical recitals and more. In addition, Alfa Health funded the production of an illustrated exhibit that provides a history of farming in America from 1776 until present day. The American Village Citizenship Trust also plans to use the land adjacent to the barn as a working demonstration farm where students will learn the importance of agriculture in maintaining the security of the nation.

According to Tom Walker, American Village executive director, "The upgrading of this wonderful old barn is a welcome addition to the many functions on the village campus. The partnership between Alfa and the American Village is appropriate and fitting because it was colonial farmers who first fought for American independence at Concord Bridge in 1775.

"From generation to generation since, farmers have built America, defended and preserved its freedom and provided food, clothing and shelter to its families," Walker said. "Alabama Farmers Federation continues that tradition by providing this important space as learning facilities to help teach young people the great foundations of American freedom and the role farmers played in our nation and state."

Gov. Bob Riley, speaking at the American Village Cornerstone of Liberty ceremonies in April, thanked the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance for their leadership in renovating the barn, which now sports a new roof, floor, windows, electrical and sound systems, interior renovation, heating and air conditioning.

The $250,000 donation includes more than $150,000 from Alfa Insurance as well as contributions from county farmers federations in 63 of Alabama's 67 counties.

The American Village is the official name given to the civic education center of The Citizenship Trust, which was created by legislative act in 1995. The mission of The American Village Citizenship Trust is to strengthen and renew the foundations of American liberty and self-government through citizenship education.

For more information about the American Village, visit. www.americanvillage.org.

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