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July 06, 2005   Email to Friend 

COMMODITY CONFERENCE SET FOR JULY 14-16
Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
July 06, 2005

When Alabama farmers gather in Columbus, Ga., July 14-16 for the Alabama Farmers Federation's 33rd Annual Commodity Producers Conference, they will have a chance to tour innovative farms and agricultural operations, attend educational seminars and tap their toes to the music of a nationally recognized entertainer.

According to Commodity Department Director Jimmy Carlisle, this year's conference will offer something for just about any Federation member.

"We are organizing four or five farm tours that will highlight outstanding livestock, row crop and forestry operations in east-central Alabama as well as agritourism, allied industries and niche marketing opportunities," Carlisle said. "We also are pleased to announce that Alfa Health has agreed to sponsor LaDonna Gatlin as our featured entertainment on Saturday, July 16."

Registration will begin the afternoon of Thursday, July 14, and the conference will get into full swing on Friday morning with a series of tours to farms and agribusinesses in Barbour, Chambers, Lee and Russell counties. Tours that will focus on beef and row crop farms are planned, as is a tour that will highlight forest operations, including a tour of the MeadWestvaco paper mill and wood handling facility in Russell County.

Another tour will include stops at Cantrell Stables, which has trained more than 200 world champion walking horses, and Lakeside Christmas Tree Farm. Participants in that tour also will have a chance to visit Marengo Creek Farm, an agritourism operation that caters to school groups and includes on-farm demonstrations, racing pigeons, top-quality game chickens and stock dog demonstrations.

Details of seminars scheduled for Saturday are still being worked out, but could include topics ranging from invasive plant species to legislative issues. The Federation's Women's Committee also will hold its Cotton Fashion Show and Sewing Contest, featuring garments made from Alabama's top row crop.

The grand finale of the conference will be a banquet with entertainment by LaDonna Gatlin, who grew up singing with her brothers, country music's legendary Gatlin Brothers. Marriage and family took LaDonna away from the spotlight, but she now shares her inspirational message and music with groups throughout the country. Her client list includes scores of state and national farm groups including the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen's Beef Association and Farm Credit Services of America.

The conference will be held at the newly renovated Columbus Georgia Convention and Trade Center. Carlisle said the Trade Center is a first-class meeting facility that will be an ideal venue for the Commodity Conference. The 200-year-old building recently underwent a $25 million renovation making it one of the most distinctive meeting facilities in the Southeast.

"This is the first time the Commodity Conference has been held in this area, and we are excited about the opportunity for our members to tour different farm operations and participate in seminars about important issues related to agriculture," he said.

For more information, contact Ginger Mullins at 1-800-392-5705, ext. 4293 or email her at gmullins@alfafarmers.org. The registration deadline is June 17, and tickets are required for all tours and meal functions.

Download a copy of the Commodity Conference Program


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