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January 18, 2011   Email to Friend 

Young Farmers Leadership Conference Eyes Rocket City
By Darryal Ray

The OYFF awards banquet and Young Farmers Live Auction will be held at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration.
More than 300 young farm families from throughout the state will gather Feb. 18-20 at Huntsville's Embassy Suites Hotel for the Alabama Farmers Federation's 2011 Young Farmers Leadership Conference.

It's an event that not only serves to develop tomorrow's agricultural leaders but also is the first step in the Outstanding Young Farm Family competition as 17 state commodity division winners are selected.

The OYFF program, now entering its 54th year, seeks to recognize young farm families and farmers between the ages of 18 and 35 who are doing an outstanding job in their farm, home and community activities, and promoting a better understanding of agriculture with the urban populace.

Each commodity winner receives a plaque and $200 cash award. From the 17 commodity divisions, the top six finalists will be chosen. An overall winner is then selected from the six finalists and will be named at the Federation's 90th Annual Meeting in Mobile, Dec. 4-6.

The overall winner receives a John Deere Gator, courtesy of Alabama Ag Credit, ACA and Alabama Farm Credit, the use of a new vehicle, $500 cash from Dodge Trucks and a computer package sponsored by Valcom/CCS Wireless.

The state winner also receives an all-expense-paid trip to the 2012 American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Hawaii where he/she will compete for the American Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement Award.

The winner of the 2011 Achievement Award receives a nicely equipped 2012 Dodge Ram Quad Cab pickup. Activities for the Alabama Farmers Federation's Young Farmers Leadership Conference begin Friday, Feb. 18, 5:45-6:30 p.m., with an invitation-only reception for county Young Farmers chairmen, followed by the opening banquet with keynote speaker Chad Hymas.

Hymas, a quadriplegic since age 27, has been recognized by the state of Utah as the Superior Civilian of the Year. Now 37, he is the president of his own communications company and an internet marketing company. As a member of the National Speakers Association, Chad travels as many as 150,000 miles a year speaking to hundreds of professional and civic organizations such as Wells Fargo, Coca- Cola, AT&T, American Express, the Utah Jazz and others.

He has raced in marathons, and in the summer of 2003, set a world record by wheeling his chair from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas (513 miles). He also participates in such wheelchair athletic competitions as basketball and rugby and officiates basketball. Hymas also spends many hours with other injured individuals in therapy, encouraging them to overcome their challenges, focus on dreams and make them a reality, and to love life for all that it has to offer. Saturday activities include orientation for OYFF contestants at 7:45 a.m., followed at 8 by leadership development training and a seminar presented by American Farm Bureau. Alabama Ag in the Classroom also will be holding a workshop, and OYFF judging begins at 8:30 a.m.

This year the OYFF awards banquet and the Young Farmers Live Auction will be held at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration.

For more information, log on to www.alfayoungfarmers.org or email Brandon Moore, Young Farmers Division Director, at BMoore@AlfaFarmers.org.

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