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January 26, 2004   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
January 26, 2004

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The Alabama Farm-City Committee is seeking applications for Alabama's 2004 Farm of Distinction competition, which recognizes outstanding farmers and rewards them with cash and other prizes.

Based on the applications submitted, division winners will be chosen from five areas of the state, plus one at-large winner. These six farms will then compete for the state title and a $2,500 cash prize.

Division winners will be judged by a panel of agricultural experts who will visit each farm. The winner will be announced during a ceremony April 19 in Birmingham. Alabama's winner will go on to represent the state in competition for the Lancaster/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year that will be named during the Sunbelt Ag Expo Oct. 19-21 in Moultrie, Ga. The Sunbelt winner will receive $14,000 plus several prizes.

"Alabama is blessed with some of the best farms in the country. We are calling on Alabama Farmers Federation members to help us identify those operations that are the crown jewels of Alabama agriculture," said J. Paul Till, chairman of the Alabama Farm-City Committee. "This is an excellent opportunity to recognize operations that showcase the qualities that make Alabama agriculture great: hard work, conservation, good management and innovative thinking."

Farms will be judged on environmental stewardship, overall appearance, accomplishments, efficiency and leadership of the farm owner. Any size farm is eligible for the competition.

Last year's Farm of Distinction winners were Bruce and Billie Bush of Bush Farms in Barbour County. The Bushes produce top-quality Charolais cattle on their farm near Eufaula. "It still doesn't seem real," Bruce said of winning the state award. "We work hard on our farm. We don't play golf or anything like that, we mostly just work on improving our cattle. We just have a burning desire to raise the best cattle that walk, and to be recognized by our peers is very humbling."

The Farm of Distinction Award is presented annually by the Farm-City Committee of Alabama. Farm-City Week is observed nationally each year the week before Thanksgiving as a way to help bridge the gap between rural and urban residents.

Copies of the application for the 2004 Farm of Distinction are available on the Alfa Farmers website at www.alfafarmers.org/ farm-city. For more information, call 1-800-392-5705, ext. 4410 or email ptill@alfafarmers.org. The deadline for applications is March 1.

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