Alabama farmers have until Jan. 26 to apply for more than $20,000 in cash and prizes to be awarded for the state’s 2018 Farm of Distinction.
Alabama Farm-City Committee Chairman Jeff Helms said the contest honors farmers who excel in production, management, stewardship and innovation.
“Our state is blessed with diverse agricultural operations — from catfish and cotton to peanuts and poultry,” Helms said. “The Farm of Distinction program recognizes Alabama’s best farming businesses and chooses one to compete for Southeastern Farmer of the Year at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in October.
Helms said this year’s prize packages is the largest ever, thanks to Register Barns.
“Jeff Register started building pole barns while in high school as a project for 4-H and FFA in 1990,” Helms said. “Twenty-seven years later, he operates one of the most respected custom building companies in the Southeast.
“Last fall, he contacted the Alabama Farm-City Committee about sponsoring the Farm of Distinction program and has committed to build a 40-foot x 60-foot pole barn for our winner,” Helms added.
The Alabama Farm of Distinction also receives a John Deere Gator, courtesy of AgPro, TriGreen and SunSouth dealers; a $1,000 gift certificate from Alabama Farmers Cooperative (AFC); an engraved farm sign from Alfa Insurance; and $2,500 as the state’s representative in the Swisher Sweets / Sunbelt Ag Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year contest.
Up to six contest finalists will be selected and honored April 5 at the Alabama Farm-City Awards in Birmingham, where the winner will be announced. Finalists each receive a $250 gift certificate from AFC and an engraved plague.
Farm-City Week began in 1955 and is officially observed the week before Thanksgiving. In addition to administering the Farm of Distinction contest, the Alabama Farm-City Committee sponsors student poster, essay and multimedia contests, and honors county volunteers for their work with county Farm-City Week observances. Farm-City volunteers also will help celebrate National Ag Day March 20.
Farm of Distinction applications are available under contest forms at AlabamaFarmCity.org.