Volunteers committed to strengthening consumer trust in agriculture were honored at the Alabama Farm-City Awards in Birmingham, April 11.
Cullman County was recognized for the Overall Best Farm-City Committee in Alabama after winning first-place among larger counties and winning awards for Best Farm-City Tour and Best Scrapbook. Geneva County took top honors among smaller counties as well as division awards for Best Innovative Idea and Best Media Coverage and Proclamation. Les Pair, a Calhoun County Kiwanis Club member and retired Alabama Cooperative Extension System agent, was honored as Volunteer of the Year.
“With fewer people living on farms than ever before, it is important to educate consumers about how their food and fiber is produced,” said Alabama Farm-City Chairman Jeff Helms. “These counties excelled because they formed partnerships among farmers, businesses and government officials to conduct tours, dinners and other activities that foster cooperation and understanding. Relationships built through Farm-City will pay dividends for years to come as these counties enhance economic development and consider public policies impacting agriculture.”
For the awards program, counties are divided into two divisions. Counties with populations of more than 35,600 are judged in Division 1, and counties with fewer people make up Division 2.
Runner-up for Best Farm-City Committee in Division 1 was Coffee County, which also was recognized for Best Civic Club Activities in the division. Other Division 1 winners were Lawrence County, Best Innovative Idea; Montgomery County, Best Farm-City Dinner; Dale County, Best Media Coverage and Proclamation; St. Clair County, Best Special Activities; and Lee County, the Target Award for best adaptation of this year’s theme, which focused on food safety.
In Division 2, Pike County was runner-up for Best Farm-City Committee and won for Best Farm-City Tour and Target Award. Other Division 2 winners were Chambers County, Best Scrapbook; Henry County, Best Farm-City Dinner; Randolph County, Best Civic Club Activities; and Franklin County, Best Special Activities.
Pair has planned and promoted Farm-City Week activities in Calhoun County for the past 26 years. He arranges for speakers and special guests to attend Farm-City events and organizes a guest reception as well as a door prize program for the annual banquet.
“Volunteers like Mr. Pair are the driving force behind Farm-City Week celebrations in Alabama,” said Helms. “By embracing Farm-City Week’s mission to foster understanding between rural and urban residents, Mr. Pair built relationships that benefit the whole community.”
Pair was involved with Farm-City as an Extension agent and Kiwanian. He served as president of the Kiwanis Club in Jasper and Anniston and was recently recognized for 58 years of perfect attendance.