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April 11, 2007   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
April 11, 2007

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Alabama's top farm for 2007 will win cash and prizes worth more than $10,000 when the Alabama Farmers Federation holds its annual Alabama Farm of Distinction competition on Monday, April 16, at Birmingham's Wynfrey Hotel.

Six farms have been named finalists in the competition, which will highlight the Federation's annual Farm-City Committee Awards luncheon. The winner will represent Alabama in the Southeastern Farmer of the Year contest at the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo Oct. 16-18 in Moultrie, Ga. The Sunbelt winner will receive $14,000, plus additional prizes.

Finalists in the Alabama competition are: Gilley Farms of Cullman County, operated by Billy and Terri Gilley of Holly Pond; Holladay Farms of Lowndes County, operated by Ronnie and Mitzi Holladay of Tyler; Jeffcoat Farms of Houston County, operated by George and Gloria Jeffcoat of Gordon; Robertson Farm of Chambers County, operated by George "Pooka" Robertson of Waverly; Williams Farm of Marshall County, operated by Dwight and Glenda Williams; and Wright's Nursery and Greenhouse of Dallas County, operated by David and Martha Wright of Plantersville.

The Farm of Distinction finalists are judged on their management, conservation and environmental practices as well as the overall aesthetic appearance of the farm and leadership of the farm owner.

"This competition serves to recognize the cream of the crop in Alabama agriculture," said J. Paul Till, chairman of the Alabama Farm-City Committee. "These are farmers who, through hard work, good conservation and management and innovation, have excelled. In offering these prizes, the sponsors are showing that they also recognize the good job they are doing."

Alabama's Farm of Distinction will receive a John Deere Gator CX valued at more than $5,000 donated by Alabama SunSouth dealers in Abbeville, Andalusia, Brundidge, Clanton, Dothan, Montgomery, Samson and Tuskegee and Georgia SunSouth dealers in Blakely, Columbus, Donalsonville and LaGrange. In addition, the Alabama Farmers Cooperative will present a $1,000 gift certificate to the state winner, redeemable at any of its member Quality Co-op stores.

The Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Health will award the Farm of Distinction an engraved, farm sign valued at more than $1,300. The Alabama winner also will receive a $2,500 cash award.

In addition to the Farm of Distinction competition, the Federation will recognize county volunteers who work to bridge the gap between urban and rural residents during the Farm-City awards luncheon.

Awards will be presented for Best Overall Farm-City Committee in the state, Best Farm-City Tour, Best Civic Club Activities, Best Media Coverage and numerous other achievements. In addition, the Farm-City Poster Contest will recognize young artists, and young writers will be honored for their 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 is held in conjunction with the Alabama Farmers Federation's Women's Conference, which will include an opening Sunday night banquet featuring Melinda Rainey Thompson, author of "S.W.A.G. (Southern Women Aging Gracefully)".

The opening day will also include a health fair by the staff of St. Vincent's Hospital, and "Get to Know You" regional meetings. On Monday, the women's conference will feature workshops on travel, accessorizing your home and "Misconceptions in Agriculture" hosted by Marsha Purcell of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

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