Celebrating 200 Years of Alabama Agriculture was the theme that brought nearly 1,400 Alabama Farmers Federation members to Montgomery Dec. 8-9 for the organization’s 98th annual meeting.
Gov. Kay Ivey was among prominent guests who attended. She thanked Federation members for their support of her Rebuild Alabama program.
“I’m a proud daughter of rural Alabama,” said Ivey, a Wilcox County native. “One thing I’ve learned through my time of service is that we are only successful when we are successful together.”
Tommy Tuberville, the FarmPAC-endorsed U.S. Senate candidate also addressed members during the meeting. FarmPAC is the Federation’s grassroots political organization.
“Thank you for what you do,” Tuberville told the standing-room-only crowd. “I want to go and be your voice. I want to take what you want to Washington, D.C.”
Following Tuberville, former U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., encouraged Federation members to be messengers for hope and change in the upcoming elections and in their daily lives. He challenged them with two questions: “What do we believe? How do we communicate?
“If you want to change your community, state or country, do not wait on someone else to do the leading or the changing,” Gowdy said. “If you don’t like where something is headed, you are the messenger.”
Federation President Jimmy Parnell said members are helping transform their communities and the state through their involvement in policy and politics. He pointed to the organization’s Young Farmers program, which recognized contest winners who do outstanding jobs in their communities and on their farms.
At the meeting, elections were held for the Federation state board and Women’s Leadership and Young Farmers committees. Outstanding county boards, committees and individual leaders also were recognized, along with new and outgoing county presidents.
A tribute breakfast was held to honor Federation leaders who passed away in 2019.
U.S. Rep. Martha Roby was honored with the Service To Agriculture Award, the Federation’s highest honor.
The Federation recognized former Journal Record Editor Les Walters of Hamilton with its Communications Award n print journalism for his coverage of agricultural issues and events.
A silent auction during the meeting raised $10,640 for the Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation, which supports agricultural scholarships and Alabama Ag In The Classroom.
The Federation’s 99th annual meeting will be Dec. 6-7, 2020, in Montgomery.