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April 16, 2007   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
April 16, 2007

Coffee County Farm-City Chairman James Aplin, center, accepts the state's top Farm-City committee award from Alabama Farm-City Chairman J. Paul Till, left, and Alabama Farmers Federation Executive Director Mike Kilgore, right.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- "Partners in Progress" was the theme for Farm-City Programs throughout the state last year, and it's a joint venture that's working well, judging by the participation in this year's Farm-City Awards Program held April 16 in Birmingham.

Coffee County was recognized for having the best Farm-City Committee in the state, while students from Randolph and Calhoun counties took top honors in the state Farm-City Poster Contest. Writers from Randolph and Jackson counties claimed first-place prizes in the Farm-City Essay Contest.

"There are fewer farmers in America who are providing more food, fiber and fuel than ever before," said Alabama Farm-City Chairman J. Paul Till. "However, without urban residents to consume those products, farmers wouldn't be in business very long. Both groups really do form a partnership, and that's 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 Coffee County Farm-City Committee qualified for the overall best Farm-City Committee award by taking top honors in Division I, which includes counties with populations of 35,600 or more. In addition, Coffee County won the award for the best Farm-City dinner. Cullman County was the runner-up in Division I and won the innovative idea award. Montgomery County received the Division 1 award for the best Farm-City tour. St. Clair County won the scrapbook award and the award for the best special activities. Houston County won the award for the best media coverage and proclamation, while Jackson County won for the best civic club activities.

The trophy for best Farm-City Committee in Division II, which includes counties with populations less than 35,600, went to Chambers County. Chambers County also won the award for the best civic club activities in Division II. Pike County was the runner-up in Division II and won the award for the best media coverage and proclamation. Cherokee County won the best Farm-City tour, and Pickens County won top awards for the best scrapbook and innovative idea. Geneva County was honored for the best Farm-City dinner, and Lamar County received the award for the best special 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 "Partners in Progress." Students qualified for the state awards by winning first place in their county contests.

In the poster contest, Adreona Bowen of Randolph County placed first in the kindergarten through third-grade division, while Mitchell Nolte of Calhoun County took top honors among fourth- to sixth-graders. Second place in the kindergarten through third-grade division went to Kallie Sessions of Montgomery County, and Miranda Meadors of Tallapoosa 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 Eric Gant of Jackson County, grades 10-12. Chandler Mulvaney of Lee County placed second among seventh- through ninth-graders, and Mark Smith of Pickens 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 poultry and cattle farm in Cullman County was named the 2007 Alabama Farm of Distinction. Billy and Terri Gilley were selected for the statewide honor from a field of five district winners and one at-large winner.

As this year's winner, the Gilleys 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. 16-18 in Moultrie, Ga.

Other Farm of Distinction finalists were George Robertson Jr. of Chambers County, David and Martha Wright of Dallas County, George and Gloria Jeffcoat of Houston County, Ronnie and Mitzi Holladay of Lowndes County and Dwight and Glenda Williams of Marshall County.

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