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August 10, 2014

A.J. Watson

Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell stands with Discussion Meet finalists Brady Peek of Limestone County, Kirk Smith of Blount County, Adam Wilson of Calhoun County, Josh Williams of Marshall County and Excellence in Agriculture winner Grace Smith Ellis of Autauga County.

Hundreds of farmers from around the state ended the 42nd Annual Commodity Producers Conference in Huntsville tonight by recognizing the future of farming.

Young Farmers Division Director Jennifer Himburg announced the Excellence in Agriculture winner and four Discussion Meet finalists.

"We're proud to showcase the skills of our young farmers" Himburg said. "This is the future of agriculture, and through these programs they develop communication skills they'll use for the rest of their lives."

Those recognized were:

Excellence in Agriculture
First place: Grace Smith Ellis, Autauga County
First runner-up: Zac Marsh, Blount County
Second runner-up: Leah McElmoyl, DeKalb County

Discussion Meet finalists
Joshua Williams, Marshall County
Kirk Smith, Blount County
Brady Peek, Limestone County
Adam Wilson, Calhoun County

The Excellence in Agriculture winner will receive a zero-turn John Deere mower from Dow AgroSciences and a computer package from Valcom/Css Wireless at the Federation's December annual meeting in Montgomery.

Excellence in Agriculture contestants are involved in agriculture but earn no more than half their salary from production agriculture. The competition consists of an application, a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation about their application and a 10-minute question-and-answer session.

In the Discussion Meet, contestants simulate a committee meeting and discuss pre-selected topics. The 2014 Discussion Meet winner will be chosen at the annual meeting after a second round of competition and will receive a 4-wheeler from First South Farm Credit. All seven participants received Yeti coolers.

The Alabama Farmers Federation will provide both winners with an all-expense paid trip to San Diego, California, where they will participate in the national competitions.

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