Members of the Agricultural Leaders For Alabama (A.L.F.A.) class received lessons in politics and public policy when they met in Montgomery March 5-7. The class series began last summer and includes eight sessions focusing on personal development, political involvement, communication and leadership skills.
The most recent session, however, may be the most memorable, according to class member Eric Lovvorn, a 28-year-old farmer from Cleburne County. He and other class members shared dinner with Gov. Robert Bentley at the Federation home office in Montgomery, March 6.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Lovvorn, a poultry and cattle farmer who sat across from Bentley at dinner. “We actually talked about farming and the importance of farming to the state. We also discussed the importance of young leaders for the future of our state. He (Bentley) was extremely personable; we even talked about hunting and fishing.”
Earlier that day, Lovvorn and other members of the class met state officials including Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey, Attorney General Luther Strange, Secretary of State Beth Chapman, State Treasurer Young Boozer, Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Tommy Bryan. Lovvorn said he was impressed.
“It’s amazing to think about how many important people walked through the room where we met today,” he said. “I’m very grateful to Alfa for allowing me to have this opportunity.”
Class member Hope Cassebaum of Baldwin County shared Lovvorn’s impression and gratitude following dinner with the governor.
“We actually talked about the difference between Silver King and Silver Queen corn,” said Cassebaum, who grows vegetables and row crops and raises cattle with her husband, Todd, and their two children. “The governor was very interested in where each of us lives and what we grow on our farm. It was a wonderful experience.”
Bentley said having dinner and meeting young farm leaders was a rewarding experience for him, too.
“I enjoy talking to young people,” Bentley said. “They are going to be the leaders of Alabama and our country. I like to listen to them, especially people who do different jobs – like farming.”
Following dinner, Bentley discussed the current legislative session and job growth for Alabama. He also encouraged A.L.F.A. class members to stay involved in government.
“It’s important to know what’s going on,” he said. “Remember, the government is you.”
A.L.F.A Leaders were nominated by their county Federations to participate in the prestigious program. For more information about this and other Young Farmer programs, visit AlfaYoungFarmers.org.