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August 08, 2014

Mary Johnson
(334) 235-1406

Richard Lyon, a farmer from Taft, Tennessee, explains requirements for USDA food safety certifications to visiting farmers, including Blount County tomato farmer Destiny Allman, right foreground.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala., — Hundreds of farmers from across the state spent Friday touring diverse farming operations in north Alabama and southern Tennessee. From a goat dairy and equine hospital to a peach orchard and tree farm, the tours highlighted the second day of the Alabama Farmers Federation's 42nd Commodity Producers Conference Aug. 7-10.

Conference attendees chose one of five tour options, with each tour focused on different commodities. The squash processing facility and agritourism attraction at Lyon Family Farm based in Taft, Tennessee, was a highlight of the horticulture tour. 

"It was nice to hear the story of someone else who has gone through the USDA certification process, because it can be challenging for us all," said Destiny Allman, a fifth-generation tomato farmer from Blount County. "I also think the agritourism facility is something central Alabama could use."

Dallas County Farmers Federation President and cattleman Jimmy Holliman toured beef, goat, horse and hay operations in Limestone, Morgan and Lawrence counties. 

"I think all the stops have been excellent," Holliman said. "Every farm we went to is using new technology. I like to see new ideas from other farmers. Everybody's place is different. I try to take home little tidbits that may help me at our place, Circle H, do a better job with our cattle."

Elmore County farmer and former high school ag teacher Charles Tew said the tours show the future of agriculture is in good hands. 

"The best part of this conference is getting to see other farmers, seeing the promotion they're putting into their operations and knowing our work as farmers will be carried on," Tew said.

The conference continues Saturday with seminars on technology, the farm bill, environmental stewardship, rural crime and livestock management. Members of the Young Farmers Division will compete in the Discussion Meet and Excellence in Ag contests, while winners of the Women's Leadership Division's quilting, sewing and tablescape contests will be announced at the group's luncheon.

A closing banquet, remarks from Gov. Robert Bentley and a performance by musical guest Guy Penrod will conclude the conference tomorrow evening.

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