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January 17, 2008   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
January 17, 2008

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The Alabama Farm-City Committee is seeking applications for Alabama's 2008 Farm of Distinction competition, which recognizes outstanding farmers and rewards them with cash and other prizes.

Based on the applications submitted, division winners will be chosen from five areas of the state, plus one at-large winner. These six farms will then compete for the state title and prizes valued at more than $10,000.

Division winners will be judged by a panel of agricultural experts who will visit each farm, judging each on environmental stewardship, overall appearance, accomplishments, efficiency and leadership of the farm owner. Any size farm is eligible for the competition.

The state winner will be announced during a ceremony April 14 in Birmingham. Alabama's winner will go on to represent the state in the Southeastern Farmer of the Year competition at the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Agricultural Expo in Moultrie, Ga., Oct. 14-16. Last year's Farm of Distinction winners were Billy and Terri Gilley of Gilley Farms in Cullman County, a poultry and cattle operation.

"Agriculture still is the No. 1 industry in Alabama, and we want to showcase the best of the best farms in our state. This is a way to recognize hard work, conservation, good management and innovative thinking that characterizes Alabama farmers," said J. Paul Till, chairman of the Alabama Farm-City Committee.

The Farm of Distinction Award is presented annually by the Farm-City Committee of Alabama. Farm-City Week is observed nationally each year the week before Thanksgiving as a way to help bridge the gap between rural and urban residents.

SunSouth and TriGreen Equipment, a network of Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee John Deere dealers, will be donating a new John Deere Gator to the 2008 winner. In addition, the Alabama Farmers Cooperative (AFC) will present each division winner with a $250 gift certificate and the state winner with a $1,000 gift certificate redeemable at any of its Quality Co-op stores. The state winner also will receive a $2,500 cash award from Swisher International of Jacksonville, Fla., and a $250 gift from Grainger.

Applications for the 2008 Farm of Distinction can be downloaded at www.AlfaFarmers.org/farm-city. For more information, call 1-800-392-5705, ext. 5096, or email PTill@AlfaFarmers.org. The deadline for applications is Feb. 15.

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