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April 28, 2003   Email to Friend 

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

Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry Newby, second from right, and Alabama Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture Doug Rigney, right, congratulate Bruce and Billie Bush on the selection of their Barbour County beef cattle operation as the 2003 Alabama Farm of Distinction.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-- A Barbour County beef cattle operation was named Alabama's 2003 Farm of Distinction April 28 during the Alabama Farm-City Committee's awards luncheon in Birmingham.

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. Bruce Bush, who grew up in town, said he wanted to farm from an early age.

"I've always enjoyed working cattle, and I grew up helping local farmers," Bush recalled. "In 1975, I was able to buy a piece of land, and we started raising commercial cattle. Since then, we've gone the registered route, and its something we really enjoy."

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.

Bush Farms markets its registered Charolais bulls through at annual production sale at M6 Ranch in Alvarado, Texas. The Alabama cattleman said working with a well-respected ranch like M6 gives him an advantage in marketing. Bush also utilizes artificial insemination and embryo transfer technologies to improve the genetics and performance of his herd. Meanwhile, he has maximized the productivity of his hay fields and pastureland by conducting annual soil tests and by implementing soil and water conservation projects.

A former pork producer and peanut farmer, Bush said economic pressures forced him to diversify his operation. Still, he said he doesn't regret his decision to become a farmer.

"Even though we have endured the changes in the peanut program, rock-bottom pork prices and no market for our hogs, farming is still my choice for a way of living," Bush said.

District Farm of Distinction finalists from around the state also were recognized during the Farm-City awards luncheon, which was held in conjunction with the Alabama Farmers Federation's Women's Conference. District winners 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.

The Farm-City Committee of Alabama presents the Farm of Distinction award annually to a farm that exhibits outstanding management and productivity as well as exceptional appearance and conservation practices.

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