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January 10, 2010   Email to Friend 

ALABAMA FARMERS FEDERATION RECOGNIZED AT FARM BUREAU CONVENTION
Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
January 10, 2010

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman, left, congratulates Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry Newby, right, on the state winning five awards of excellence and a president's award in public relations.
SEATTLE, Jan. 10 -- The Alabama Farmers Federation was recognized for outstanding work in public relations and information during the opening session of the American Farm Bureau Federation's 91st Annual Meeting in Seattle, where Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman challenged members to be more vocal in telling their stories.

"Studies still show that consumers profess their admiration for us. Unfortunately, that admiration does not always extend to how we do what we do," Stallman said. "Our mission of feeding our nation and our world, caring for the environment and respecting the rights of our neighbors has not changed from our grandfathers' days. But the ways in which we carry out that mission have. It is more vital than ever that we communicate about our values, that we convey how food production today is compatible with traditional ideals.

"We hear much about 'sustainability,' which in my book is the most overused and ill-defined word in the policy arena today. The first sustainability for agriculture has to be economic sustainability," Stallman added to thunderous applause. "Without that, farmers and ranchers will not be on the land to provide all the rest of the 'sustainables' that some are demanding."

Federation President Jerry A. Newby accepted the President's Award in Public Relations and Information from Stallman later in the program. The award is presented annually to the state in each of six membership divisions with the greatest achievement in one of the Farm Bureau's five program areas. Alabama again earned Awards of Excellence in all five areas: Agriculture Education and Promotion, Leadership Development, Member Services, Policy Implementation and Public Relations and Information.

Almost 5,000 farmers from throughout the United States and Puerto Rico attended the conference, including more than 100 from Alabama. The conference includes a trade show, educational seminars and competitive events for young farmers. It is set to conclude Wednesday with the annual meeting of voting delegates, who set policy for the 6.3-million member organization.

Alabama Outstanding Young Farm Family Gaylan and Angie Shelly of Escambia County are representing the state in the Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award contest. Jennifer Cruise of Morgan County is competing in the Discussion Meet competition, which seeks to build leadership, problem-solving and consensus-building skills among young farmers. And, Matt and Amy Winstead of Limestone County are representing the state in the Excellence in Agriculture contest for young agricultural professionals who work off the farm.

Winners of these contests will be announced during the Monday afternoon general session, which will feature a keynote address from NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw.

During his opening comments Stallman said the climate change legislation being considered in Congress could eliminate 130,000 farms and ranches and make the United States less able to provide the world a "viable hunger safety net." He also expressed concern about the nation's growing debt and encouraged unity among the nation's farmers as they confront misinformation about American agriculture.

"While we must be responsive to consumer demand, we must also stand beside each other," he said. "Today, it takes all of America's farm and ranch families to get the job done."


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