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December 01, 2009   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
December 01, 2009

Dr. Richard Guthrie
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Farmers all across Alabama will be striving to get out the message that "Agriculture Is The Answer" when the Alabama Farmers Federation holds its 88th Annual Meeting Dec. 6-7 at Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center in Mobile.

"Farmers today are faced with a growing array of issues that affect not only their future, but the future of our country," said Federation President Jerry A. Newby. "That's why we have chosen 'Agriculture Is The Answer' as the theme of this year's meeting. We believe that agriculture is not a problem to be dealt with by government, but a solution that can help feed the hungry, shelter the homeless and provide energy to a world looking for answers."

About 1,200 Federation members from throughout the state are expected to attend the meeting, which will also feature the organization's annual Outstanding Young Farm Family, Excellence in Agriculture and Discussion Meet competitions.

The OYFF winner will receive the use of a 2010 Dodge Journey, $500 cash from Dodge, a John Deere Gator, courtesy of the Federal Land Bank of Alabama and a computer package from ValCom Wireless/CSS Technology Centers. The winner of the Discussion Meet wins $1,000 cash from the Alabama Farmers Federation and Dodge, and the Excellence in Agriculture winner receives $500 from First South Farm Credit and $500 from Dodge. The overall winner in each contest will represent the state at the American Farm Bureau Federation's Annual Meeting in Seattle Jan. 10-13.

Also on tap is a special graduation ceremony for the first ALFA (Agricultural Leaders For Alabama) class. The 16 graduates have completed an intensive two-year learning experience focusing on personal development, political involvement, effective communication and other skills.

The first 16 participants, as nominated by their counties, are: John Bitto of Baldwin, Jeff Maze of Blount, Jeremy Goss of Calhoun, Mark Gaines of Cherokee , Ben Haynes of Cullman, Heather Wright of Dallas, Samuel Prim and Colby Willoughby of Houston, Richard Holladay of Lowndes, Blair Sistrunk of Macon, Jackie Tate of Madison, Robert Cruise of Morgan, Steve Stroud of Pike, Renee Fochtman of Shelby, and Walt Richardson and Mark Platt of Washington. Nominations for the next class will be accepted until Dec. 15.

Members will also hear from Mark Maslyn, executive director of the Public Policy Department of the American Farm Bureau Federation, on many of the current issues facing agriculture, including the cap-and-trade climate change legislation still under debate.

Dr. Richard Guthrie, retiring dean of the College of Agriculture at Auburn University and director of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Stations, will be presented the Federation's highest award --- the Service to Agriculture Award -- during the Sunday afternoon session in recognition of his outstanding contributions to Alabama agriculture. Outstanding county Farmers Federations and individual farm leaders will be recognized during an awards ceremony Monday morning. The Dothan Progress will receive the Federation's Communications Award for excellence in print journalism.

Federation President Jerry A. Newby will also give his annual report to members at the opening session.

A voting delegates session will elect board seats for Districts 1, 4, 7 and 10, vice-presidents for the Central and Southwest Districts and the secretary-treasurer officer position.

Download Annual Meeting Agenda Here

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