New A.L.F.A. Leaders Class Holds First Meeting In Foley
The first meeting of the Agricultural Leaders For Alabama (A.L.F.A.) program brought 16 young farmers to Baldwin County July 24-26 for an introductory leadership session and tours of local farms and businesses.
|Joel Sirmon, far right, owner of Sirmon Farms, discusses his sweet potato farm with members of the A.L.F.A Leaders class.|
Fourth-generation Montgomery County beef farmer Garrett Henry said the A.L.F.A. experience is introducing him to other types of farming.
“This is an opportunity to learn more, including how to communicate with people who are not as knowledgeable about farming and agriculture,” Henry said. “We can tell them what we do and that we’re doing it to the best of our ability, caring for the environment and producing a quality product.”
The three-day session provided an overview of history and policies of the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Alabama Farmers Federation. Attendees toured Water’s Nursery, Sirmon Farms, Alabama’s state docks and Blakeley State Park.
The two-year A.L.F.A. program consists of eight sessions that focus on personal development, political involvement, effective communication and other leadership skills. The sessions are hosted in different regions of the state and use classroom instruction and practical experiences.
A.L.F.A Leaders were nominated by their county Federations to participate in the prestigious program. Clay County farmer Abby Stewart said the program has exceeded her expectations.
“It’s a huge honor to be able to come and learn more about other farms and other parts of the agricultural industry,” Stewart said. “I’ve been very pleased with how it’s going, and I’ve learned a lot.”
Class participants include Justin Barrett of Elmore County, Jeremy Brown of Montgomery County, Grant Buck of Sumter County, Zachary Burns of Marshall County, Hope Cassebaum of Baldwin County, Allie Corcoran of Barbour County, Nick Gibbs of Etowah County, Lee Haynes of Cullman County, Garrett Henry of Montgomery County, Shawn Keel of Calhoun County, Eric Lovvorn of Cleburne County, Clint McElmoyl of DeKalb County, Jay and Abby Stewart of Clay County, Josh Turner of DeKalb County and Colin Wilson of Jackson County.
The group is expected to graduate at the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 2013 annual meeting. A.L.F.A. Leaders is sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation.