The Alabama Farmers Federation hosted its annual “Taste of Alabama” legislative reception Feb. 15, giving state legislators, constitutional officers and judges a sampling of what state farmers have to offer
The reception also gave Federation leaders from across the state a chance to visit with legislators and other elected officials and discuss agricultural issues that affect rural Alabama. About 100 farmers, representing every commodity produced in the state, attended the event.
“The legislative reception is one of the most popular events of the year” said Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan. “This event not only gives our governmental leaders a chance to see the role that agriculture plays in our state, but it also gives our farmers a chance to meet with their elected officials.”
Pinyan added that it’s good for farmers to build personal relationships with lawmakers and decision-makers.
“During an election year, especially one in which there are so many critical issues facing agriculture, it’s essential that lawmakers remain mindful of the agricultural community,” said Pinyan.
This year’s gathering drew 16 state senators, 71 state representatives and a host of other elected officials, who mingled with Federation leaders and state board members.
Others in attendance included Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan, Attorney General Luther Strange, State Auditor Sam Shaw and Public Service Commissioner Twinkle Cavanaugh, who commented on the reception’s benefits.
“I’ve been coming to this event for years,” said Cavanaugh. “I love the food, but better than that, I love the company. It’s important for us to get to know the farmers and learn what they do for Alabama.”
Judges in attendance included Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Malone; Justices Mike Bolin, Jim Main, Greg Shaw and Kelli Wise; Civil Appeals Court Judge Tommy Bryan; and Criminal Appeals Court Judges Mike Joiner, Beth Kellum and Mary Windom and husband, Steve.
During the evening, guests moved about the room, sampling beef tenderloin, pork barbecue, grits from Joe and Patty Lambrecht’s Oakview Farms Granary in Wetumpka and shrimp from Dickie Odom of Greene County. Honey was provided by the Alabama Beekeepers Association, along with grilled peanut butter sandwiches from the Alabama Peanut Producers Association. In addition to catfish, fried chicken, turnip greens, fried green tomatoes, sweet potato fries, ice cream and fruit cobblers, attendees sampled pecans, goat and wildlife dishes.
A video of the event is available online through the Federation’s Facebook and YouTube pages. To view the footage, visit YouTube.com/AlabamaFarmersFed.