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April 28, 2003   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
April 28, 2003

Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry Newby, left, and Alabama Farm-City Committee Chairman J. Paul Till, right, congratulate members of the Chambers County Farm-City Committee on its selection as Best Overall County Farm-City Committee in Alabama.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-- County volunteers, who work to bridge the gap between urban and rural residents, were honored along with young artists and writers April 28 during the Alabama Farm-City Committee's awards luncheon in Birmingham.

Chambers County won the award for Best Farm-City Committee in the state while young artists from Dale and Lee counties took top honors in the Farm-City Poster Contest. Budding journalists from Jackson and Lawrence counties submitted the winning entries in the Farm-City Essay Contest.

Established in 1955 as a way to foster relationships between farmers and city folks, National Farm-City Week is observed each year the week before Thanksgiving. The Alabama awards program, which was held in conjunction with the Alabama Farmers Federation's Women's Conference, recognized county groups and individuals for activities associated with the annual observance.

In addition to being named Overall Best Farm-City Committee, Chambers County won the top award for Division I, which includes counties with populations of 35,600 or more. The county also was judged to have the Best Farm-City Tour and the Best Civic Club Activities for that division. Meanwhile, Bibb County had the Best Farm-City Committee for Division II, which includes counties with populations of less than 35,600. Bibb County also was recognized for Best Media Coverage and Best Civic Club Activities.

In Division I, Cullman County was Runner-Up for Best Farm-City Committee and received the Proclamation Award. Coffee County had the Best Farm-City Dinner for Division I, and Lee County won for Best Media Coverage. Russell County was honored for Best Special Activities.

Pickens County was Runner-Up for Best Farm-City Committee in Division II and received the Best Special Activities award. Other Division II winners included Cherokee County, Best Farm-City Tour; Lamar County, Proclamation Award; and Pike County, Best Farm-City Dinner.

In addition to the county awards, young artists and writers also were recognized for their outstanding entries in the Farm-City poster and essay contests. The theme for both contests was "Focus on Family Farms." In the poster contest, Chelsey Dunn of Dale County won first place in the kindergarten to third-grade division, and Chandler Mulvaney of Lee County took top honors among fourth- to sixth-graders. Cody Meigs of Winston County placed second in the kindergarten to third-grade division, and Allison Riley of Montgomery County placed second for students in grades 4-6. Poster contest winners each received a $200 savings bond for first place while their schools received $200 cash. Second-place winners each received a $100 savings bond, and their schools received $100 cash awards.

Eric Gant of Jackson County placed first in the essay contest for grades 7-9 while Kristen Hicks of Lawrence County won among 10th- to 12th-graders. Second-place honors went to Wyatt Smith of Pickens County, grades 7-9, and Anna Smith of Cullman County, grades 10-12. First-place winners in the essay contest each received a $500 savings bond while their schools received a check for $250. Second-place winners each received a $300 savings bond, and their schools received checks for $150.

Contestants qualified for the state awards by winning top honors in their home county. Some of the posters will be reprinted in the 2004 Farm-City calendars.

As the grand finale of the Farm-City awards luncheon, a Barbour County beef cattle operation was named Alabama's 2003 Farm of Distinction. Bush Farms, operated by Bruce and Billie Bush of Eufaula, was selected for the statewide honor from a field of five district winners and one at-large winner. The Bushes' operation includes 150 registered Charolais cows and 200 acres of Bermuda grass hay. As this year's winner, the Bushes received $2,500 and a customized farm sign. This fall, they will compete with outstanding farms from seven other Southeastern states for the title of Lancaster/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year. The winner, who will receive $14,000 plus other prizes, will be announced Oct. 14-16 during the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Ga.

District Farm of Distinction finalists were: Dale and Gena Chandler of Chandler Farms in Jackson County, Robert and Sylvia Byrd of Green Valley Farms in Shelby County, Louie and Faye Hinkle of Circle H Angus Farm in Chambers County, Bush Farms, Kenneth, Larry and Terry Carnley of Carnley Farms in Coffee County and Ernest and Carol Graveman of Graveman Farms in Cullman County.

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