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February 15, 2011   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
February 15, 2011

TUSKEGEE, Ala. --  The Rose Jernigan family of Union Springs will be presented the Merit Farm Family Award for 2011 during the 119th Annual Farmers Conference, Feb. 17-18, at Kellogg Conference Center on the campus of Tuskegee University.

The conference, first held Feb. 23, 1892 at Tuskegee University, provides intense course instruction, interactive demonstrations and discussions, and an opportunity for producers to network with colleagues and university educators. The main focus of the conference is still on the problems and solutions for small-scale farmers, landowners and their communities in managing change in agriculture.

The Jernigans join an elite group of innovative community leaders that own and operate sustainable family farms. Bullock County is home to several former recipients of the award which recognizes small farmers for innovation, environmental stewardship, sustainable farm management and effective community leadership. The first Merit Farm Family Award was presented in February 1916.

Jernigan, a native of Mobile County, owns and operates CUROS Farm of Bullock County. CUROS Farm, named after Rose and her late husband Curtis, is a diversified farming operation comprised of more than 267 acres in Alabama's Coastal Plain soil region. The farm features a 50-head beef cattle operation, 50 acres of hay fields, pecan orchard, fish pond, hunting areas, fruit trees and vegetable gardens.

Rose and Curtis established the farm more than 40 years ago. The two were dedicated educators and administrators in the public school systems of Bullock and Russell counties.

During the early years, CUROS Farm was also a classroom to the three Jernigan children, Valeria, Kwesi and Adero. The siblings, now all adults with off-farm careers, maintain a deep appreciation for the farm life they grew up with and used to shape their future.

Rose Jernigan provided family meals from the farm's vegetable gardens, and still processes several jars of fruits and vegetables for consumption during the off-season. She also established a muscadine vineyard over the years and still produces several jelly and wine products. The pecan orchard has been revitalized and is one of the most productive small orchards in the area. Most of the orchard trees are of the Stuart variety. Wildlife is abundant in the area, and the farm is a natural habitat for deer and wild turkeys.

As a community leader, Jernigan is active in her church, Union Hill Missionary Baptist Church where she serves as Sunday school teacher and church clerk. She also serves on the Bullock County Board of Registrars, and is a member of the Bullock County Voters League, Bullock County Rural Water Board and the QA Committee for the Department of Human Resources.

Jernigan is one of the organizing members of the Bullock County Farmers Cooperative, which was established in 2009. She uses this opportunity to inform fellow producers of USDA assistance programs and to assist them during the application process. CUROS Farm has hosted several extension education programs for the community and is an active participant in on-farm research trials coordinated by Tuskegee University.

Rose Jernigan will receive her award during the Merit Farm Family luncheon Friday, Feb. 18, at 1 p.m. Conference registration fees are $25 for farmers and $10 for students. These costs include lunch. Luncheon only tickets are available at a cost of $20.

For more information contact your local county extension agent or visit the conference website.

Farm Conference Registration & Agenda

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