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August 03, 2006   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
August 03, 2006

Jerry A. Newby, president of Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance, back center, presents the first installment in a $250,000 pledge to leaders and students representing the Alabama Youth Agricultural Foundation (AYAF). From left are, front row, Robby Acker of Cherokee County, Jake Tucker of Monroe County, Clay Tucker of Monroe County and Alex Dunn of Conecuh County; back row, Extension Livestock Specialist and AYAF Vice President Bob Ebert, Newby and Federation Area Organization Director and AYAF President Raleigh Wilkerson.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Agricultural activities aimed at helping Alabama's young people gain knowledge, leadership skills and a strong work ethic will soon have a perennial source of funding thanks to the newly formed Alabama Youth Agricultural Foundation (AYAF).

Alabama Farmers Federation, a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, kicked off the initial fund-raising campaign for the AYAF with a $250,000 pledge during the Federation's 34th annual Commodity Producers Conference Aug. 3 in Huntsville.

Federation President Jerry A. Newby said the donation, which will provide $25,000 to the foundation annually for the next 10 years, is part of the organization's ongoing mission to enhance the lives of rural Alabamians.

"Young people are our future, and we need to give them every opportunity to be successful," Newby said. "The Alabama Youth Agricultural Foundation does this by supporting youth livestock shows, judging contests and other agricultural activities. We are proud to be able to support the new foundation, and we hope other organizations, individuals and companies will join us in giving to this worthwhile effort."

AYAF's goal is to establish a $1 million endowment to provide a steady funding source for youth agricultural activities. Raleigh Wilkerson, president of the foundation, said about 1,300 Alabama youth participate in livestock shows each year, and thousands more compete in other farm-related competitions through FFA, 4-H clubs and other organizations.

"Many of Alabama's business and civic leaders were inspired to be successful adults by the experience they gained participating in youth agricultural activities," Wilkerson said. "These programs teach children responsibility, leadership, sound judgment and communication skills. Our goal is to create an endowed fund that will ensure these programs will continue to serve Alabama youth for generations to come."

For more information about the AYAF, contact Brian Hardin, treasurer, at (334) 613-4217 or BHardin@AlfaFarmers.org or send checks payable to Alabama Youth Agricultural Foundation to Hardin at P.O. Box 11000, Montgomery, AL 36191.

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