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February 10, 2008   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
February 10, 2008

The 2008 OYFF Commodity Division winners and their children were honored at the Young Farmers Leadership Conference in Mobile on Saturday evening.
MOBILE, Ala. -- Outstanding Young Farm Families in 11 commodity divisions were recognized Saturday evening as more than 300 Alabama Farmers Federation members gathered in Mobile for the organization's Young Farmers Leadership Conference.

Up-and-coming farmers from throughout Alabama competed in the Outstanding Young Farm Family (OYFF) program during the two-day conference at Mobile's Riverview Plaza. Six finalists, chosen from among the 11 division winners, will now compete for the overall OYFF title, which will be announced in December at the Federation's 87th Annual Meeting in Mobile.

The commodity division winners were: Beef Division, Hop Baker of Jefferson County; Cotton Division, Matthew and Stacey Smith of Calhoun County; Dairy Division, Gary and Elizabeth Mitchell, Randolph County; Greenhouse, Nursery and Sod Division, Joel and Amanda Jackson of Montgomery County; Hay and Forage Division, Joshua and Denise Smith of Randolph County; Horticulture Division, Jeremy and Julie Calvert of Cullman County; Peanut Division, Scott Saucer of Monroe County; Poultry Division, Chad and Stacy Tribble of Limestone County; Soybean Division, Gaylan and Angie Shelly of Escambia County; Wheat and Feed Grain Division, Chip and Lisa Stacey, Conecuh County; and Wildlife Division, Mike and Julie Parmer of Autauga County.

The six finalists were Matthew and Stacey Smith, the Jacksons, Joshua and Denise Smith, the Calverts, Saucer and the Staceys.

"Each year we recognize some of the best Young Farmers our state has to offer," said Brandon Moore, director of the Federation's Young Farmers program. "It is always a great encouragement to farmers everywhere to see the success stories of these young farm families despite the worst drought conditions in decades."

Each commodity winner received an engraved, wooden plaque and a $200 cash prize. Those winners also will serve as ex-officio members of their respective state commodity committees during 2008. The top six division finalists will receive those awards, along with year's free membership in the Alabama Farm Analysis program.

The overall winner, which will be selected by a panel of judges that will visit each farm, will receive a year's use of a Dodge vehicle, courtesy of the 67 County Farmers Federations, a new John Deere Gator XUV from the Alabama Federal Land Bank Association, a personal home computer system from Valcom Business Centers, $500 cash from Dodge, an expense-paid trip to the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas and a $250 gift certificate from Valvoline Oil Products.

The OYFF competition was the highlight of the Federation's Young Farmers Leadership Conference, which is designed to prepare farmers ages 17-35 for leadership positions in agriculture and their communities. In addition to the OYFF competition, the event also included a leadership development workshop with members of the American Farm Bureau Federation, an Ag in the Classroom workshop, a presentation on marketing opportunities by Don Wambles, the director of the Alabama Farmers Market Authority and a pedal tractor pull contest for the children.

In addition, a silent auction raised $2,200 for "Harvest for All," a program of America's Second Harvest which strives to help feed the millions of Americans who face hunger .

For more information about the Young Farmers program, visit www.AlfaYoungFarmers.org.

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