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"Jeff Helms, Publications Director"
334 613-4212

MONTGOMERY Alabama's top young farm families in 10 commodity divisions were recognized Feb. 19 at the Alabama Farmers Federation's Young Farmers Leadership Conference in Point Clear. More than 500 farmers between the ages of 17 and 35 attended the annual conference which is designed to assist young farmers in the development of the skills they will need to address the challenges that face agriculture.

Outstanding Young Farm Family division winners included: Mike Henry of Montgomery County, beef division; Willard and Dea Powe of Dallas County, catfish division; Chris and Tammy Thompson of Dale County, cotton division; David and Wendy Rogers of Cherokee County, forestry division; Lance and Dana Byrd of Shelby County, horticulture division; Tim and Roberta Mullek of Baldwin County, peanut division; Chris and Angie Thomas of Pike County, poultry division; Jeffrey and Kristie Wootten of DeKalb County, pork division; Chad and Marie Henderson of Limestone County, soybean division; and Stuart Sanderson of Limestone County, feed grains division.

An overall 2000 Outstanding Young Farm Family will be announced in December at the Alabama Farmers Federation's annual meeting in Mobile.

During the weekend conference, young farmers participated in workshops on topics including agricultural law, legislative issues and farm analysis and management.

"The speakers and setting of this conference made it the best young farmers meeting we've ever had," said State Young Farmers Chairman Phil Slay of Chambers County. "With farmers facing record-low prices and increasing government regulation, it's important for us to take time to learn all we can about how to increase of profitability. The conference also gave us a chance to spend time with our families and fellow farmers. I especially want to thank the state and county Farmers Federation boards as well as Alfa President Jerry Newby for believing in the Young Farmers program and helping us develop the tools we need to succeed."

Newby, who is a former chairman of the State Young Farmers Committee, addressed the group on Saturday along with his wife, Dianne. Other speakers included former Auburn University football player and motivational speaker John Riley, State Representative Jack Venable, D-Tallassee, and State Senator Albert Lipscomb, R-Magnolia Springs.

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