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October 15, 2010   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
October 15, 2010

Wendy and Trent McFarland of the Autauga County Young Farmers program staff the Alabama Farmers Federation booth during the Alabama National Fair.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- About 100 people per hour were stopping by the Alabama Farmers Federation's booth at the Alabama National Fair on Thursday afternoon, giving Wendy and Trent McFarland of the Autauga County Farmers Federation a chance to spread the news about agriculture and the work the Federation does.

The Alabama National Fair, located adjacent to Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery, runs Oct. 8-17.

"We'll be more slammed in the evening when there are more people out walking and looking," said Trent. "A lot of folks are still trying to get off work to get here right now."

Many of those who stopped by the booth also picked up packets of peanuts from the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, fans from Alfa Insurance and registered for a $50 Cracker Barrel gift certificate. Some even joined the Federation to take advantage of its many benefits, including MyRainReport.com whose representatives were staffing the neighboring booth. There was also a drawing for "Harvest At Home," a framed print from Ozark artist Jack DeLoney.

The Federation's booth at the fair was a new effort to reach out to potential new members, and to educate them about agriculture. The booth was staffed by volunteers from five county Federations -- Montgomery, Autauga, Elmore, Lowndes and Macon -- which rotated shifts during the fair.

The 60-foot by 200-foot building known as "Grandpa's Farm" during fair week was filled with animals, including scores of exotic chickens, Brahma bulls, horses and more -- a sure sign that the Federation's work with Auburn University's College of Agriculture was paying dividends. Mike Henry of the Montgomery County Farmers Federation also provided pigs and goats for display.

"The Federation and Auburn University got together about four years ago to make 'Grandpa's Farm' a reality," said Guy Hall, director of the Federation's pork, poultry and dairy divisions, as he showed passersby young chicks hatching from their shells. "A lot of people come to the fair looking to see livestock exhibits, but as you know, livestock shows are on certain days and not during the fair. So, people were coming to the fair to see livestock that wasn't here. So we got together with Auburn and with the Alabama National Fair, which is run by the Kiwanis, and now, with Auburn providing many of the animals, people can see farm animals every day of the fair."

In addition, Auburn University's Poultry Science Department provided incubators for visitors to see baby chicks hatching from the eggs. The hatching eggs -- and an adult rooster and hen -- were donated by Danny Eiland of S&G Poultry, a breeder-producer in Verbena.

Friday, Oct. 15, is the Federation Membership Day at the fair. Alfa members and their immediate family will be admitted for $5 per person with Alfa membership card.

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