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April 20, 2004   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
April 20, 2004

Alabama Farm-City Committee Chairman Paul Till, left, and Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry Newby, right, congratulate Cullman County Farm-City Committee Chairman Mike McWaters on the selection of Cullman County as the Best Farm-City Committee in the state.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-- County volunteers, who work to bridge the gap between urban and rural residents, were honored along with young artists and writers April 19 during the Alabama Farm-City Committee's awards luncheon in Birmingham.

Cullman County won the award for Best Farm-City Committee in the state while young artists from Winston and Jefferson counties took top honors in the Farm-City Poster Contest. Budding journalists from Colbert and Bullock 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, Cullman County won the top award for Division I, which includes counties with populations of 35,600 or more. The county also received the Proclamation Award for encouraging local governments to officially recognize Farm-City Week. Meanwhile, Cherokee County had the Best Farm-City Committee for Division II, which includes counties with populations of less than 35,600. Cherokee County also tied with Pickens County for Best Farm-City Tour in Division II.

In Division I, Coffee County was Runner-Up for Best Farm-City Committee and was judged to have the Best Farm-City Tour. Jackson and Chilton counties tied for the Best Farm-City Dinner in Division I, and Lee County won for Best Media Coverage. Chambers County was honored for Best Civic Club Activities, and Montgomery County received a trophy for Best Special Activities.

Coosa County was Runner-Up for Best Farm-City Committee in Division II and received the Best Special Activities award. Other Division II winners included Pike County, Best Farm-City Dinner; Franklin County, Best Civic Club Activities; and Bibb County, Proclamation Award. Pickens and Monroe counties tied for Best Media Coverage in that division.

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 "Farmers--Growing Our Future."

In the poster contest, Cody Meigs of Winston County won first place in the kindergarten to third-grade division, and Phillip Blevins of Jefferson County took top honors among fourth- to sixth-graders. Lena Lemieux of Russell County placed second in the kindergarten to third-grade division, and Lawson Benefield of Clay County placed second among fourth- to sixth-graders. Poster contest winners each received $200 and a trophy for first place, and their schools received a matching cash award. Second-place winners each received $100 and a trophy, and their schools also received $100 cash awards.

Adam Carpenter of Colbert County placed first in the essay contest among seventh- to ninth-graders while Gina Ledbetter of Bullock County won among 10th- to 12th-graders. Second-place honors went to Eric Gant of Jackson County for seventh- to ninth-graders, and John David Harding of Russell County placed second among 10th- to 12th-graders. First-place winners in the essay contest each received $300 and a trophy while their schools received a check for $300. Second-place winners each received $200 and a trophy, and their schools received a matching cash award.

Contestants qualified for the state awards by winning top honors in their home county. Some of the posters will be reprinted in the 2005 Farm-City calendars.

As the grand finale of the Farm-City awards luncheon, a Cherokee County row crop and beef cattle operation was named Alabama's 2004 Farm of Distinction. East Farms, operated by John Bert and Dawn East of Leesburg, was selected for the statewide honor from a field of five district winners and one at-large winner.

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