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February 11, 2006   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
February 11, 2006

Outstanding Young Farm Family commodity division winners were, from left, front row; Farrah Adams, Julie Lee with daughter Kaiya, Deborah Sanderson with son Spencer, Miranda Looney with son Clay, Denise Smith, Tammy Gaines, Ashley Johnson and Heather Wright with daughter Abby, back row; Chip Stacey, Thomas Adams, David Lee, Stuart Sanderson, Benjamin Looney, Colby Looney, Joshua Smith, Mark Gaines, Brad Johnson, Davy Wright with son Noah and Scott Saucer. Not pictured are Jonathan and Laura Burge of Randolph County.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Feb 11-- Eleven successful family businesses were honored Feb. 11 in Birmingham as part of the Alabama Farmers Federation's Outstanding Young Farm Family (OYFF) competition at the 2006 Young Farmers Leadership Conference.

The awards program was the grand finale of the conference, which featured educational workshops on farm management, agricultural policy and legislative issues. Six finalists were named from among the 11 commodity division winners. They will go on to compete for the overall title of 2006 Outstanding Young Farm Family.

Each commodity division winner received an engraved plaque, $200 cash and two tickets to the John Deere suite at the Talladega Speedway for the spring NASCAR race. These young farmers also will serve as ex-officio members of their respective state Federation commodity committees.

This year's commodity division winners were: beef, David and Julie Lee of Madison County; cotton, Benjamin and Miranda Looney of Limestone County; forestry, Joshua and Denise Smith of Randolph County; greenhouse, nursery and sod, Davy and Heather Wright of Dallas County; hay and forage crops, Brad and Ashley Johnson of Randolph County; horticulture, Thomas and Farrah Adams of Henry County; meat goats and sheep, Jonathan and Laura Burge of Randolph County; peanuts, Scott Saucer of Monroe County; poultry, Mark and Tammy Gaines of Cherokee County; wheat and feed grains, Stuart and Deborah Sanderson of Limestone County; and wildlife, Chip Stacey of Conecuh County.

Selected as finalists were: David and Julie Lee, Joshua and Denise Smith, Brad and Ashley Johnson, Thomas and Farrah Adams, Mark and Tammy Gaines and Stuart and Deborah Sanderson. These couples will go on to compete for the title of overall OYFF for 2006. A panel of judges will tour each of their farms this summer to make the final determination.

John Deere and Co., will present the overall winner the use of a new John Deere tractor for six months or 250 hours of service. As a new sponsor of the OYFF program this year, John Deere surprised last year's winner, Mike and Denise Henry of Montgomery County, by presenting them the keys to their choice of tractor for six months as well. The Henrys were named the 2005 OYFF at the Federation's annual meeting in December.

In addition, the state winner will receive a computer from ValCom Business Centers and a year's use of a new vehicle, which is sponsored by county Farmers Federations across the state.

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