Farmers from across Alabama served up local dishes and some food for thought during the Alabama Farmers Federation’s annual “Taste of Alabama” legislative reception Feb. 6.
State legislators, constitutional officers and judges filled their plates and listened to farmers’ concerns during the event at the organization’s home office in Montgomery. The wide array of fare represented commodities produced in Alabama.
“The reception is a highlight of the year,” said Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “It’s a great opportunity for our farmers to share the wonderful food they produce, and it allows them to speak one-on-one with state leaders who are shaping agricultural laws and policies.”
Gov. Robert Bentley, First Lady Dianne Bentley, Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey, 25 state senators, 78 state representatives and other elected officials spent time with more than 150 Federation leaders and state board members during the event. The event provided government officials with an even greater appreciation for the work of farmers and the economic impact of agriculture.
“I look forward to this every year,” said Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn. “Agriculture is such an important part of our state and our economy. It really is showcased by having the Taste of Alabama. But the best part is seeing the people from all counties of the state.”
Attendees sampled pecans from Whaley’s Pecan Company in Troy, organic milk from Jan and Rinske de Jong’s Working Cows Dairy in Slocomb, pork barbecue from Bishop’s Barbecue in Cherokee County and grits from Joe and Patty Lambrecht’s Oakview Farms Granary in Wetumpka. The Alabama Peanut Producers provided peanuts, and the Alabama Bee and Honey Producers served honey. Mike Henry of Montgomery County served beef tenderloin, and Sam Abney of Autauga County served goat and lamb products.
Additional offerings included catfish, fried chicken, squash, fried green tomatoes, cornbread, turnip greens, sweet potato fries, ice cream and fruit cobblers.
Other state officials in attendance included Secretary of State Beth Chapman, State Treasurer Young Boozer, Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan, Public Service Commissioner Jeremy Oden and State School Board members Stephanie Bell and Tracy Roberts. Judges attending the reception included Supreme Court Justices Michael Bolin, Tom Parker, Kelly Wise and Tommy Bryan; Civil Appeals Court Judge Scott Donaldson; and Criminal Appeals Court Judges Mary Becker Windom, Beth Kellum, Liles Burke and Michael Joiner.
Photos of the event are on the Federation’s Facebook page.