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January 14, 2008   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
January 14, 2008

Townsend Kyser
NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Members of the American Farm Bureau Federation's Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Committee elected Townsend Kyser, a Greensboro, Ala., catfish farmer, as the committee's chairman for 2008 during the AFBF'S 89th annual convention here Monday.

Kyser will take over as chairman in February, at the end of the committee's leadership conference, and serve one year.

"I'm looking forward to a whirlwind year full of excitement," said Kyser who served as the Alabama Farmers Federation's State Young Farmers Chairman in 2006 and is active in the Hale County Young Farmers program. "It's an honor to play this part in conveying the story of the 2 percent of the U.S. population that feeds, clothes and fuels the world."

Kyser resides in west central Alabama with his wife, Kelly, and 15-month-old daughter, Laura, where he works on his family's catfish farm. The farm, in existence since the late 1960s, is a pioneer in Alabama's catfish industry.

Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry A. Newby said that all Alabama farmers are proud of Kyser's election. "We are all really excited about Townsend's election," said Newby. "He is an outstanding young man who comes from an established Alabama farm family. He's a bright young man who is gifted as a consensus-builder. Townsend did an outstanding job while serving as Alabama's chairman, and I'm confident he will do the same as our national chairman."

As chairman, Kyser intends to compel YF&R Committee members to become more visible in their communities. One way he intends to do this is to encourage members to actively seek opportunities to tell agriculture's story and emphasize how critical the industry is to their specific communities.

"It's as simple as everyone on the committee doing at least one presentation to a civic organization, like Rotary or the Lions Club," Kyser said.

Kyser said his experience doing this was very positive -- for himself, the organization and the greater community.

Linking outgoing and former YF&R Committee members with new members is also a goal of Kyser's.

"Rookie committee members would benefit from the guidance of former members who can serve as go-to people for questions about protocol and policy," he explained. "For former members, the relationship would provide an opportunity for them to share their knowledge and experience with the committee."

The YF&R program includes men and women between the ages of 18 and 35. The program's goals are to help younger Farm Bureau members learn more about agriculture, network with other farmers and become future leaders in agriculture and Farm Bureau.

The Alabama Farmers Federation is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

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