August 04, 2018
By Marlee Moore
From left are 2018 Outstanding Young Farm Family winners Chris and Jordyn Upchurch of Clay County; Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell; Excellence in Agriculture winner Samantha Carpenter of Limestone County; and Discussion Meet finalists Hunter McBrayer of Marshall County, Sid Phelps of Tallapoosa County, Kyle Morris of Cullman County and Brady Peek of Limestone County.
Chris and Jordyn Upchurch of Clay County reaped the rewards of hard work and first-rate farming when they were named Alabama’s 2018 Outstanding Young Farm Family (OYFF) Aug. 4.
The multi-generation farmers were honored at the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 46th Commodity Producers Conference in Montgomery and will receive over $70,000 in prizes. Their Rockin U farm in Lineville encompasses over 300 acres, 130 cows and three poultry houses.
The OYFF prize package includes $35,000 toward a new Ford truck courtesy of Alfa Insurance; a John Deere 825i Gator sponsored by Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit; and a lease on a John Deere tractor provided by John Deere, AgPro, SunSouth and TriGreen Equipment. New sponsor Register Barn Co. will provide the Upchurch family a 30-by-40-foot pole barn.
OYFF contestants are ages 18-35 and receive more than half their income from production agriculture. Runners-up were Chad and Heather Grant of Fort Deposit in Butler County and Gannon and Kristin Nunley of Vina in Franklin County. Each family received $500 from Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit. Finalists were named in March.
Young farmers also competed in Excellence in Agriculture and Discussion Meet contests during the conference.
Samantha Carpenter of Madison in Limestone County beat out six competitors in the Excellence in Agriculture contest. Participants are involved in agriculture but derive more than half their income off farm. Carpenter will receive a zero-turn mower from Corteva AgroSciences and a computer package from Valcom/CCS Wireless.
Excellence in Agriculture first runner-up was Cody Rasco of Blountsville in Cullman County, while Benton Derrick of Fyffe in DeKalb County was second runner-up.
Four finalists were named in Discussion Meet, which simulates a committee meeting where contestants examine and problem-solve pressing agricultural issues. They are Hunter McBrayer of Boaz in Marshall County, Kyle Morris of Hanceville in Cullman County, Sid Phelps of Dadeville in Tallapoosa County and Brady Peek of Athens in Limestone County. Fifteen young farmers competed this year.
The final round of Discussion Meet will be held during the Federation’s December annual meeting in Montgomery, where the winner will receive a four-wheeler from First South Farm Credit.
All Young Farmers contests finalists received a Traeger grill courtesy of the Federation. Winners will represent Alabama at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual convention in New Orleans in January.