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December 16, 2010   Email to Friend 

DeKalb County Couple Named Outstanding Young Farm Family
Debra Davis

Josh and Jessica Turner of DeKalb County captured the 2010 Outstanding Young Farm Family award at Monday night's closing session of the 89th Annual Meeting of the Alabama Farmers Federation. Among the prizes presented were a new John Deere Gator, courtesy of Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit. From left, are: Doug Thiessen of Alabama Ag Credit, Josh and Jessica Turner with children Griffin, Harlee and Jake, Ben Gore of Alabama Farm Credit and Federation President Jerry Newby.
Josh and Jessica Turner of Sylvania in DeKalb County were named Alabama's Outstanding Young Farm Family during the Alabama Farmers Federation's 89th annual meeting in Mobile.

The Turners, who operate a poultry and cattle farm, were selected to compete for the award earlier this year after being named the Outstanding Young Farm Family in the Poultry Division of the Alabama Farmers Federation. They have three children: a daughter, Harlee (6) and sons Griffin (4) and Jake (2).

As Alabama's Outstanding Young Farm Family, the Turners will participate in many activities promoting Alabama agriculture during the coming year. They will receive thousands of dollars in cash and prizes, including a John Deere Gator courtesy of Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit; a personal computer package courtesy of Valcom/CCS Wireless; a one-year lease of a John Deere tractor courtesy of Tri-Green, SunSouth and Snead Ag; $500 cash from Dodge; the use of a new Chevrolet Traverse from the Alabama Farmers Federation; and an expense-paid trip to the 2011 American Farm Bureau Annual Meeting where they will compete for the Young Farmers Achievement Award Dodge Truck.

With 30 head of beef cows, six broiler houses and three children, the Turners lead a busy life, but for them, "busy" is the only lifestyle they have ever known. Josh began his career as a poultry producer while he was still in high school when he leased two broiler houses from his grandfather and great uncle.

Years later, he and Jessica have six poultry houses of their own that are equipped with computerized monitoring systems to increase efficiency and productivity. They also have a successful hay business that complements their beef cattle operation.

Other activities in the Young Farmers program highlighted much of the closing session. Katie Hines of Madison County was named the winner of the Young Farmers Discussion Meet. As the winner, she received $500 from Dodge and a matching cash prize from First South Farm Credit. She will go on to represent Alabama at the American Farm Bureau's Annual Meeting in Atlanta this month, where she will compete for the chance to win a 2011 Dodge Truck and other prizes.

Allie Corcoran of Barbour County was the secondplace winner of the Discussion Meet and also received $500 from First South Farm Credit. The third- and fourth-place finishers, Josh Turner of DeKalb County and Mike Dole of St. Clair County, each received $250 from First South Farm Credit.

The Young Farmers Discussion Meet competition helps young farmers develop a deeper understanding of important agricultural issues and explore how groups can pool knowledge to reach a consensus to solve problems.

Contestants were asked to discuss the American public's perception of farmers and were asked if consumers feel agriculture is important to their security. Kirk Smith of Blount County also was recognized during the program. Earlier in 2010, he was selected as the winner in the Young Farmers' Excellence in Agriculture Competition. He received $500 from Dodge, $500 from the Alabama Farmers Federation and a plaque.

The Excellence in Agriculture Contest seeks to recognize individuals who do not derive a majority of their income from farming, but do an excellent job of promoting agriculture through their everyday job. As part of the competition, contestants must give a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation on the top-three most important issues affecting agriculture in the next five years and their role in promoting agriculture.

Kirk, who is an agriscience teacher and FFA advisor at Appalachian High School, will go on to represent Alabama at the AFBF annual meeting in Atlanta, where he will compete for the chance to win a 2011 Dodge Truck and other prizes.

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