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"Jeff Helms, Publications Director"
334 613-4212

MONTGOMERY More than 2,000 members of the Alabama Farmers Federation will gather in Mobile Dec. 5-6 for the organization's 78th Annual Meeting. This year's theme is "400,000 Families: Foundation for a New Century."

"This fall, the Alabama Farmers Federation officially reached the milestone of 400,000 members," said Federation President Jerry Newby. "As we move into the next century, every family will be important in helping accomplish our goals of promoting agriculture and providing members with valuable benefits."

Newby, who was elected to office last December, will open the annual meeting with his annual report to the membership on Sunday evening. Although 1999 was challenging for most Alabama farmers, Newby said he is optimistic about the future of agriculture and the Farmers Federation.

"With the low prices and dry weather that hurt many of our farmers this year, we are working even harder to restore profitability to agriculture. This year's disaster has proven to many lawmakers that our current farm policy does not work, and that we must get serious about developing farm programs that include a financial safety net," he said. "Here in Alabama, the Farmers Federation will begin implementing a strategic plan in January that was written by members. By listening to our grassroots leadership, we hope to better utilize the tremendous resources of this organization to improve the economic conditions in rural Alabama."

During the annual meeting, 500 voting delegates representing Federation members from throughout the state will elect nine state board members including vice presidents from central and southwest Alabama, a secretary-treasurer, four district directors, and chairmen of the young farmers and women's committees.

The first general session of the annual meeting also will feature the Outstanding Young Farm Family video and awards program. A second general session on Monday morning will include remarks from Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture Charles Bishop and special presentations to U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions and U.S. Rep. Sonny Callahan. Monday night's general session will feature the finals of the Miss Alabama Agriculture and Talent Find competitions.

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