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January 22, 2010   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
January 22, 2010

Enjoying a moment at the "Taste of Alabama" legislative reception are, from left: Paul Pinyan, director of the Federation's Governmental Affairs Division; House Ag Committee Chairman Thomas Jackson (D-Thomasville); Senate Ag Committee Chairman Kim Benefield (D-Woodland); Sen. Rusty Glover, R-Mobile; and Federation President Jerry A. Newby.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- It was definitely a "Taste of Alabama" -- from barbecue to fried green tomatoes.

But the Alabama Farmers Federation's seventh annual legislative reception was even more than that -- it was also a meet-and-greet that gave the state's farmers a chance to visit with state legislators, constitutional officers and justices.

"This is an event of enormous importance," Paul Pinyan, director of the Federation's Governmental Affairs Division, said of the Wednesday night, Jan. 20, event. "This not only gives our governmental leaders a chance to see what Alabama farmers are producing and the role that agriculture plays in our state, but it also gives our farmers a chance to meet with their elected officials face-to-face.

"During an election year, especially one in which there are so many critical issues facing agriculture, it's good for our farmers to build personal relationships with our leaders, lawmakers and decision-makers. And to be able to meet one another in such a casual setting is good for everyone," he added.

This year's gathering drew 17 state senators, 70 state representatives, 13 constitutional officers and judges and a host of other elected officials, who mingled with Federation leaders and state board members.

Among those attending were: Attorney General Troy King, Secretary of State Beth Chapman, State Treasurer Kay Ivey, Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, Supreme Court Justice Greg Shaw and his wife, State Auditor Sam Shaw, Supreme Court Justice Mike Bolin, Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker, Court of Criminal Appeals Judges Mary Windom, Beth Kellum, Kelli Wise and Jim Main and Civil Court of Appeals Judge Tommy Bryan.

Guests moved about the room, sampling barbecue provided by L.O. Bishop of Colbert County, beef tenderloin from Mike Henry of Montgomery County, satsumas from Art Sessions in Mobile County, cornbread and grits from Joe and Patty Lambrecht's Oakview Farms in Wetumpka and shrimp from Dickie Odom of Greene County. There was also honey candy and candles from the Alabama Beekeepers Association, pecans from Whaley's Pecans in Pike County, peanuts from the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, ice cream from Dairy Fresh and even goat milk soap from Sam Abney of Autauga County. Then, there was catfish, fried chicken, lamb chops, venison chili, ham, turnip greens and fruit cobbler.

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