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June 26, 2008   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
June 26, 2008

POINT CLEAR, Ala. -- The Alabama Farmers Federation hosted public relations professionals from state Farm Bureau organizations across the United States this week as the American Farm Bureau Federation held its annual Public Relations Conference and awards.

The meeting, which drew almost 100 public relations professionals to Point Clear's Marriott Grand Hotel on June 22-25, included sessions on the AFBF's Ag Challenges Initiative program, a look at the America's Heartland television program by Jim Finnerty of KVIE-TV in Sacramento, utilizing the power of the Internet for agriculture and a presentation by Alabama Farmers Market Authority Director Don Wambles on the Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign.

The conference also included a tour of Flowerwood Nursery in nearby Loxley where attendees learned about the breeding, science and marketing behind Flowerwood's famous Encore Azalea.

At Tuesday night's banquet and awards program, 21 state Farm Bureaus received awards as AFBF recognized the best news stories, publications, photos, advertising campaigns, Web sites and other communications project. This year, 32 states submitted 320 entries.

The Alabama Farmers Federation was one of four states to receive two awards each. Also winning two awards each were California, Iowa and Nebraska.

Communications Director Jeff Helms and Mike Moody of the Federation's Creative Consultants Inc., shared the top prize for "Best Pamphlet or Brochure" in the 70,000-member category with its ag facts brochure, "Take A Closer Look At Alabama Agriculture."

Neighbors Editor Darryal Ray received the top award in the large state category for Best Feature Story for his piece, "Freedom for Megan: Tomatoes May Bring Independence For Disabled Teen."

Ray, who is Web director of www.AlfaFarmers.org, also received Honorable Mention for Best Internet Feature in the large state category for its recently redesigned DTN Commodity Market page.

"It is an honor to recognize these talented and dedicated public relations professionals and the state Farm Bureaus they serve," said Don Lipton, AFBF director of public relations. "They play a vital role in enhancing farmers' and ranchers' ability to produce and be profitable. They give us great examples of public relations innovation and excellence."

Other multiple winners were: Washington, with six awards; Ohio, with five awards, Kentucky and Michigan, with four awards each; Arizona, Illinois and New Mexico, with three awards each. Other winning states were Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Montana, New York, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Vermont.

Oklahoma earned the Dave Lane Award for Media Relations Excellence for states with 70,000 or more members. In the under 70,000 category, New Mexico won the award, which recognizes the state public relations staff that does the best job of building and maintaining working relationships with the members of the news media. The award is in memory of former AFBF director of media relations Dave Lane.

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