By Marlee Moore
Alabama farmers Daniel and Carla Trantham were named the nation’s top young farm family Jan. 9 during American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
This is the first time an Alabama Farmers Federation member family has won the Achievement Award.
“From the moment I saw the state award given at a conference, winning that contest was my goal,” Daniel said. “The national award was the icing on the cake. This is a dream come true for our family.”
The Achievement Award recognizes young farmers who excel in farming and exhibit superior leadership abilities. Participants are evaluated on a combination of their farm’s growth and financial progress, Farm Bureau leadership and leadership outside Farm Bureau.
As winners, the Tranthams of Calhoun County receive $35,000 toward purchasing a Ford vehicle and registration to AFBF’s FUSION Conference in Jacksonville, Florida. The Tranthams were eligible for the Achievement Award after winning the Federation’s Outstanding Young Farm Family contest in August 2022, where they scored nearly $80,000 in prizes.
Federation President Jimmy Parnell applauded the Tranthams for their hard work, dedication and impressive win.
“Young farmers like Daniel and Carla give me incredible hope for the future,” Parnell said. “They have a tremendous family operation, and we are so proud for the whole family. This award is a testament to the time they have put in and the love they have for agriculture.”
The Tranthams are raising five children — Davis James, Sadie Leigh, Anna Kate, Sawyer Davis and Callie Faye — on the farm in Alexandria where Daniel was raised.
They’re also investing in leadership growth within the Federation. Daniel is the Calhoun County Young Farmers chair and serves on the Federation State Soybean Committee and State Wheat & Feed Grain Committee as an ex-officio member; Carla serves on the Federation’s State Women’s Leadership Committee.
“This organization has changed our future and is changing the trajectory of our kids’ lives,” Carla said.
Since joining the farm full time in 2010, Daniel has doubled, and in some cases tripled, every aspect of the row crop, cattle and feed business.
The Tranthams bag and sell 80 tons of feed and grain weekly at their storefront and through feed stores. Direct marketing reduces price fluctuations and offers a steady stream of revenue. They also sell wheat straw and Bermudagrass hay while improving yields on 1,000 acres of corn, wheat, soybeans and cotton through irrigation and seed selection. Since 2010, grain storage has doubled, and the cattle herd has tripled to 300 head.
Daniel’s family also operates a trucking company, where Carla manages payroll. The business hauls feed and birds for poultry integrators across the Southeast. The Tranthams give back to their community by coordinating farm days and speaking to hundreds of schoolchildren about farming annually.
During AFBF Convention, Garrett Dixon of Lee County and Josh Melson of Morgan County represented Alabama in Discussion Meet and Excellence in Agriculture contests, respectively.
The three AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers annual competitions are a major part of the AFBF Convention. During this year’s event Jan. 7-11, thousands of farmers celebrated the theme Mi Familia, or “my family.”
Alabama delegates joined farmers from across the U.S. to elect leadership during the Annual Meeting of American Farm Bureau Women Jan. 7 and Annual Meeting of Voting Delegates Jan. 10. Farmers also voted on policy recommendations to help guide AFBF’s work in Washington, D.C.
The grassroots policy process bore fruit during the conference with AFBF and John Deere signing a memorandum of understanding to ensure farmers’ right to repair their own farm equipment. The original AFBF policy on right to repair was approved in 2019.
Other events included workshops, farm tours and a trade show. Keynote speakers included U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack; country musician and philanthropist Big Kenny Alphin; and Life is Good Co. founder Bert Jacobs. AFBF also announced “I Love Strawberries!” as its Book of the Year.