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April 19, 2006   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
April 19, 2006

Chambers County Farm-City Committee Chairman Sid Lockhart, center, accepts the award for overall best Farm-City Committee in the state during the Alabama Farm-City Awards program April 19 in Birmingham. Presenting the award were Alabama Farm-City Committee Chairman J. Paul Till, left, and Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry A. Newby, right.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Efforts to increase cooperation and understanding among rural and urban residents took center stage at the Alabama Farm-City Committee's annual awards program April 19 in Birmingham.

County volunteers who work to bridge the gap between farmers and their city neighbors were honored along with budding artists and young writers during the program, which was held in conjunction with the Alabama Farmers Federation's Women's Conference. Chambers County was recognized for having the best Farm-City committee in the state while students from Cullman and DeKalb counties took top honors in the state Farm-City Poster Contest. Writers from Randolph and Dallas counties claimed first-place prizes in the Farm-City Essay Contest.

"As farmer numbers decline and more city people move out to the country, it becomes more and more important that these two segments of society gain a better understanding of each other," said Alabama Farm-City Chairman J. Paul Till. "That is what Farm-City is all about."

Established in 1955, National Farm-City Week is observed each year the week before Thanksgiving. The awards program recognized county groups and individuals for activities associated with the annual observance.

The Chambers County Farm-City Committee qualified for the overall best Farm-City award by taking top honors in Division I, which includes counties with populations of 35,600 or more. In addition, Chambers County won awards for best civic club activities, innovation and best media coverage, which included getting proclamations signed by government officials. Cullman County was the runner-up in Division I and won the award in that division for best Farm-City scrapbook. Other Division I winners were Coffee County, best Farm-City tour and best special activities, and Chilton County, best Farm-City dinner.

The trophy for best Farm-City committee in Division II, which includes counties with populations less than 35,600, went to Pickens County. The committee also received awards for best Farm-City scrapbook, innovation and best special activities. The runner-up in Division II was Pike County, which also was recognized for best Farm-City tour. Other Division II winners were Lamar County, best Farm-City dinner; Cherokee County, best media coverage and proclamation; and Randolph County, best civic club activities.

In addition to the county awards, young artists and writers were recognized for their outstanding entries in the Farm-City poster and essay contests. The theme for both contests was "Alabama the Bountiful." Students qualified for the state awards by winning first place in their county contests.

In the poster contest, Tristan Priest of Cullman County placed first in the kindergarten through third-grade division, while Memphis Casivant of DeKalb County took top honors among fourth- to sixth-graders. Second place in the kindergarten through third-grade division went to Holly Hargett of Franklin County, and Zac Ehl of Jefferson County placed second for grades 4-6. First-place winners in the poster contest received $200, as did their schools, while second-place winners and their schools received $100 each.

Taking top honors in the essay contest were Sawyer Spratlin of Randolph County, grades 7-9, and Anna Holbird of Dallas County, grades 10-12. Chandler Mulvaney of Lee County placed second among seventh- through ninth-graders, and Della Stabler of Lee County won second place in the 10th- through 12th-grade division. First-place winners in the essay contest received $300, and their schools received $300 as well. Second-place winners received $200, as did their schools.

As the grand finale of the Farm-City awards program, a diversified peanut, cotton, sod and produce operation in Houston County was named the 2006 Alabama Farm of Distinction. Forrester Farms, operated by Glenn and Sylvia Forrester of Columbia, was selected for the statewide honor from a field of five district winners and one at-large winner.

As this year's winner, the Forresters received prizes valued at more than $10,000 and will represent Alabama in the Southeastern Farmer of the Year competition with the winner being named during the Sunbelt Ag Expo Oct. 17-19 in Moultrie, Ga.

Other Farm of Distinction finalists were: Mike and Regina Carnes of Marshall County, Dell and Carolyn Hill of Selwood Farm in Talladega County, Leonard and Frances Brown of Chambers County, Arlan and Lawana Shelly of Escambia County and Archie and Shepard Sims of Faunsdale Plantation in Marengo County.

Click here to read the winning essays

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