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April 15, 2008   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
April 15, 2008

St. Clair County Farm-City Committee co-chairs Lee Ann Clark and Jan Parker, center, accept the top award from Alabama Farm-City Chairman J. Paul Till, left, and Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry A. Newby, right.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- St. Clair County and Pickens County captured the top awards for committees working to bridge the gap between urban rural residents at the Alabama Farm-City Awards on April 14 in Birmingham.

The St. Clair Farm-City Committee, chaired by Jan Parker and Lee Ann Clark, 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. The county also was judged to have the Best Media Coverage and Proclamation. Cullman County was the runner-up in the division, and also was recognized for the Innovative Idea Award.

Meanwhile, the Pickens County Farm-City Committee, chaired by Sam Wiggins and Dianne McCool, was named the Best Farm-City Committee in Division II, which includes counties with populations of fewer than 35,600. Pickens also won the Scrapbook Award. Pike County took runner-up honors in Division II as well as capturing awards for Best Farm-City Dinner and Best Special Activities.

"As America loses more farmland to housing developments and urban sprawl, we find ourselves relying on fewer and fewer farmers to provide even more food, fiber and fuel than ever before," said Alabama Farm-City Chairman J. Paul Till. "Likewise, farmers can't survive without those consumers. It's a symbiotic relationship where each needs the other, 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.

Others taking awards in Division I were: Coffee County for Best-Farm City Dinner and Best Scrapbook; Dallas County for Best Farm-City Tour; Jackson County for Best Civic Club Activities; and Russell County for Best Special Activities.

Other Division II winners were: Chambers County, Innovative Idea Award and Best Media Coverage/Proclamation; Cherokee County, Best Farm-City Tour; and Henry County, Best Civic Club 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 "Farm-City: Growing Closer Together." Students qualified for the state awards by winning first place in their county contests.

In the poster contest, Hannah Hart of Houston County placed first in the kindergarten through third-grade division, while Tori Reisnour of Covington County took top honors among fourth- to sixth-graders. Second place in the kindergarten through third-grade division went to Haley Harris of Geneva County, and Ashley Powell of Houston 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 Jessica Bloom of Winston County for grades 7-9, and Azeem Ahmed of Lee County, grades 10-12. Chandler Mulvaney of Lee County placed second among seventh- through ninth-graders, and Jodi Long of Pike 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, Clay County tree farmers Lamar and Felicia Dewberry of Dewberry Lands were honored with the 2008 Alabama Farm of Distinction award. The Dewberrys were selected for the statewide honor from a field of five district winners and one at-large winner.

As this year's winner, the Dewberrys 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. 14-16 in Moultrie, Ga.

Other Farm of Distinction finalists were Donnie and Norma Waters of Baldwin County, Mike and Mary DuBose of Pike County, John and Mandy Newman of Chambers County and Charles and Donna Butler and Charlie and Vera Britton, all of Madison County.

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