Setting goals, discussing agricultural issues and electing commodity leaders were the focus of more than 800 farmers gathered in Montgomery Feb. 12-14 for the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Commodity Organizational Conference. The annual event, held at the Embassy Suites Hotel, gave members a chance to interact with experts in 16 commodity fields.
During the opening-day luncheon, Gov. Robert Bentley addressed nearly 300 farmers from across the state on agriculture’s economic impact. He told attendees he genuinely appreciates their hard work.
“I appreciate your dedication and what each of you do every day,” Bentley told the packed room. “You live by faith, work hard and feed the people of this great country. You also provide significant job opportunities for residents of this state.”
Bentley received rousing applause when he vowed to not raise taxes. He also told farmers he has plans to improve facets of rural infrastructure.
“There’s an agricultural investigator system in the works,” Bentley said. “We want qualified men and women to be trained specifically to look at crimes that affect farmers. In addition to law enforcement restructuring, we’re also focused on improving the roads from farm-to-market. ATRIP, the largest road and bridge improvement program in Alabama’s history, will repair nearly 500 roadways in 61 of Alabama’s 67 counties.”
Federation Governmental and Agricultural Programs Director Jimmy Carlisle said the conference is essential to continuing the grassroots efforts on which the organization was founded.
“It’s important we have broad-based representation of active commodity leaders so we can effectively represent Alabama farmers,” said Carlisle. “Leaders elected at this event represent the concerns and issues relative to other farmers across the state. They are the core of our grassroots organization and through their efforts, we are able to help develop policy that protects the interests of all farmers.”
Each day at lunch, retiring members of state committees were honored with plaques for outstanding service.
Those honored during the Feb. 12 luncheon were Tommy Maples of Limestone County and Dean Wysner of Randolph County, State Beef Committee; Sawyer Chiles of Wilcox County, State Catfish Committee; and Wallace Norwood of Greene County, State Pork Committee.
Honored Feb. 13 were Emory Mosley of Washington County, State Forestry Committee; and W.D. Flowers of Montgomery County, Winford Parmer of Autauga County and Bill Collier of Lee County, State Hay & Forage Committee.
Feb. 14 honorees were Kenneth Hinkle of Calhoun County and Jason Powell of Chilton County, State Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod Committee; Donald Ray Wilks of Geneva County, State Poultry Committee; Ted Grantland of Morgan County and Jeff Webster of Madison County, State Soybean Committee; and Mack Hughes of Jackson County and John Walker of Tuscaloosa County, State Wheat & Feed Grains Committee.
Following lunch, state committee members elected new leaders. All members serve three-year terms unless otherwise noted. Newly elected officers and members for 2013 are:
Bee & Honey — Chairman Bill Mullins of Madison County; First Vice Chairman Joe Lambrecht* of Elmore County; Second Vice Chairman Lionel Evans of Limestone County; Ray Latham of Jackson County; Jimmy Carmack of Jefferson County and Terry Martin of Tallapoosa County
Beef — Chairman Clay Kennamer of Jackson County; First Vice Chairman Mike Henry of Montgomery County; Second Vice Chairman Anthony Faggard of Mobile County; Phil Slay of Chambers County; Jerald Wallace of Colbert County; Jim Yance of Henry County and Rick Smith of St. Clair County
Catfish — Chairman Will Pearce of Dallas County; First Vice Chairman Butch Wilson of Dallas County; Second Vice Chairman Paul Wheeler* of Perry County; Mark Satterfield of Clay County; Thed Spree of Greene County and Brad Brady of Perry County
Cotton — Chairman Jimmy Miller* of Blount County; First Vice Chairman Neal Isbell of Colbert County; Second Vice Chairman Richard Edgar of Elmore County; George Hodge of Madison County; Andy Thornburg of Mobile County and James Jordan of Pike County
Dairy — Chairman Will Gilmer* of Lamar County; Vice Chairman Richie Traylor* of Randolph County; Trey Martin of Coffee County; Diane Payton of DeKalb County; Wayne Bearden of Macon County; Jody Rankin of Marengo County and Mickey Childers of Morgan County
Equine — Chairman Jamie McConnell of Chilton County; First Vice Chairman Bonnie Shanholtzer of Autauga County; Second Vice Chairman Bryan Hoagland* of Shelby County; Amy Hegeman of Calhoun County; Wendell Harmon of Chambers County; Toni Flowers of Montgomery County and Jo Ann B. Laney of Russell County. Hoagland was elected to a two-year term.
Forestry — Chairman John Dorrill* of Pike County; Vice Chairman James Malone of Mobile County; Richard Cox of Baldwin County; Richard Jones of Covington County; Charles Whatley of Lee County and Ken Real of Marion County
Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod — Chairman Phillip Hunter* of Shelby County; First Vice Chairman Jon Hegeman* of Calhoun County; Second Vice Chairman Tommy Odom of Mobile County; John Newman of Chambers County and John Bailey of Montgomery County
Hay & Forage — Chairman Wade Hill of Lawrence County; First Vice Chairman Joe Potter of Colbert County; Second Vice Chairman Stanley Newton of Chambers County; Phyllis Jones of Cherokee County; Johnny Lee of Henry County; Laslie Hall of Montgomery County; Steve Stroud of Pike County and Neal Kelley of Tallapoosa County
Horticulture — Chairman Art Sessions* of Mobile County; First Vice Chairman Allie Corcoran* of Barbour County; Second Vice Chairman Jackie Loyd* of Jackson County; Michael Jenkins of Jefferson County and Rob McHugh of St. Clair County
Meat Goat & Sheep — Chairman Sam Abney* of Autauga County; First Vice Chairman Jimmy Parker* of Cullman County; Second Vice Chairman Stacey Nestor* of Montgomery County; Eugene Blair of Chambers County and Mike Dole of St. Clair County
Pork — Chairman Mark Pennington of Calhoun County; First Vice Chairman Tim Donaldson of Cullman County; Second Vice Chairman Jon Petree of Franklin County; Joe Hall of Henry County; Albert Miller of Mobile County; Tim Gates of Pickens County and Roland St. John of St. Clair County
Poultry — Chairman Joe Roberts of Fayette County; First Vice Chairman Dennis Maze of Blount County; Second Vice Chairman Tom Duncan* of Butler County; Mike Carnes of Marshall County; Chase Bradley of Monroe County and Jeremy Brown of Montgomery County
Soybean — Chairman Pat Buck* of Sumter County; First Vice Chairman Don Glenn of Lawrence County; Second Vice Chairman Colt Clemmons* of Lauderdale County; Mike Neal of Jackson County and Charles Butler of Madison County
Wheat & Feed Grains — Chairman Stanley Walters of Marengo County; First Vice Chairman Andy Wendland of Autauga County; Second Vice Chairman Dan Rhyne* of Lowndes County; Ben Haynes of Cullman County; Brian Glenn of Lawrence County; Shep Morris of Macon County and Mike Dee of Pickens County. Dee was elected to a two-year term.
Wildlife — Chairman Will Ainsworth of Marshall County; First Vice Chairman Dell Hill* of Talladega County; Second Vice Chairman Lamar Dewberry* of Clay County; Johnny Lanier of Choctaw County and Chip Stacey of Conecuh County
* Chairmen/vice chairmen elected to serve terms Feb. 12-14.