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July 18, 2001   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
July 18, 2001

"MONTGOMERY, Ala." The second highest ranking agriculture official in the Bush administration, Deputy Agriculture Secretary Jim Moseley, will be the featured speaker at the Alabama Farmers Federation's 29th Annual Commodity Conference July 30-Aug. 1, in Birmingham. Moseley is scheduled to speak Wednesday, Aug. 1, at 8:30 a.m. during the third general session of the conference, which will be at the Birmingham Convention Complex and Sheraton Hotel.

This will be one of Moseley's first public addresses since his confirmation by the U.S. Senate July 12. Jim Cravey, director of the Federation's Commodity Department, said Moseley's participation in the conference further enhances the three-day program, which will focus on state, national and international farm issues.

"We are honored that Deputy Secretary Moseley is making this conference one of his first official meetings with farmers since being appointed," Cravey said. "His background in agriculture both as a farmer and as an advisor to government leaders makes him uniquely qualified to address the challenges facing farmers in the 21st century. His participation in the Commodity Conference also is encouraging because it shows the Bush administration understands the importance of agriculture and the role farmers play in our economy."

The Commodity Conference will kickoff Monday, July 30, with registration beginning at 2 p.m. The State Pork Cooking Contest will begin at 5 p.m., and the first general session is set for Tuesday morning at 8:30. Speakers will include Commissioner of Agriculture Charles Bishop, Lt. Gov. Steve Windom and Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Seth Hammett. They will discuss the future of Alabama agriculture.

A native of Indiana, Moseley has 32 years of farming experience and has been active in helping direct farm policy and agricultural research activities. In the early 1990s, he served as assistant secretary of agriculture for natural resources and environment in President George Bush's administration and was the agricultural advisor to the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. He also was named director of agricultural services at Purdue University in 1993, where he had administrative and legislative responsibility for all agricultural activities at the school.

The second general session at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday will focus on water rights and policies and will feature Jim Campbell, Alabama's chief negotiator on the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa River Compact Commission, and Roy McAuley, chairman of the Alabama Pulp and Paper Council. Cravey said their presentations are consistent with the theme of the conference, which was shifted away from farm tours this year because of the diverse challenges facing Alabama farmers.

"With farmers facing critical issues that impact their ability to earn a living, it's important for them to have the most up-to-date information available," Cravey said. "This conference will help farmers prepare for the challenges ahead by providing a forum to discuss key agricultural issues."

Other activities planned for Tuesday include the State Cotton Sewing Contest and Fashion Show, the State Quilting Contest, and a series of seminars focusing on state legislation, agricultural research, niche marketing and farmers' use of the Internet. Six Alabama legislators will be on hand for the Alabama Legislation Update, including Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Zeb Little, D-Cullman, and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Thomas Jackson, D-Thomasville. The deans of the colleges of agriculture at Auburn University, Alabama A&M University and Tuskegee University will lead the agricultural research seminar, and a producer panel will conduct the niche marketing seminar.

On Wednesday, a fourth general session featuring Terry Barr, chief economist and vice president of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, will focus on national agricultural issues. Wednesday afternoon farmers will have the opportunity to participate in seminars on environmental assessment programs, agroforestry, biotechnology, and food safety. Seminar speakers will include Dan Uthe, director of Environmental Management Solutions of Des Moines, Iowa; Dr. John Ragan, national program leader for USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service; Dr. T.R. Clason of Louisiana State University's Forestry Research Station; and Dr. William Moar, professor of entomology at Auburn University.

For more information about the Alabama Farmers Federation's 29th Annual Commodity Producers Conference, contact Ginger Mullins at 1-800-392-5705, ext. 4293, or by e-mail at gmullins@alfafarmers.org.

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