U.S. Rep. Bobby Bright will return home to address about 800 farmers from all across the state Aug. 6-8 when the Alabama Farmers Federation hosts its 37th annual Commodity Producers Conference at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Convention Center.Bright, who served nine years as the mayor of Montgomery before his election to Congress last November, will address the annual gathering of an expected 800 farmers at the opening night welcome banquet. Bright, who represents Alabama’s second congressional district, is the 13th of 14 children born to a Dale County sharecropper.”This year’s Commodity Conference promises to be one of our best ever,” says Jimmy Carlisle, director of the Federation’s Commodity Department. “We’ve got some very informative and interesting seminars that are certain to be helpful to our producers, and we’ll get a chance to discuss some of the very pressing issues facing agriculture today. Plus, as our members know, the Montgomery area is rich in agriculture, and its central location will offer easy access to tour a wide variety of operations in outlying counties.”After the Thursday night welcoming banquet, attendees will board buses on Friday morning for a series of color-coded tours to farms, related businesses and sites in Montgomery and surrounding counties.The Blue Tour’s first stop will be Sunshine Farms in nearby Chilton County, a diverse family operation where the Durbin and Minor families raise Quarter horses and Simmental beef cattle. Then, it’s on to Hickory Hill Farm in Autauga County where tour-goers will see Van Smith’s operation which raises dual-purpose commercial cattle for club calves and the mainstream beef industry.The third stop on the Blue Tour will be Autauga Farming Company, where Autauga County Farmers Federation President Andy Wendland and his family have a commercial cow-calf operation, along with small grain, cotton, soybean and corn production, timber and a successful hunting club.The last Blue Tour stop is in south Montgomery County where the Montgomery Water & Sewer Board operates a 2,000-acre hay farm, utilizing bio-solids to produce quality hay that is sold to producers all over central Alabama.The Green Tour heads off to Lee County where it will visit three locations in the Auburn area: the Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest, the Auburn University Forest Ecology Preserve and the new Auburn University Deer Research Facility. The latter is a one-of-a-kind facility that conducts research on whitetail deer behavior, breeding and genetics.The Orange Tour will travel to Macon County where it will visit four different units of the E.V. Smith Research Center — the field crop unit, the beef unit, the horticulture unit and the dairy unit. After lunch at the research center, the tour heads back to Montgomery County where attendees will visit Hyundai Manufacturing Alabama, which can produce more than 300,000 vehicles per year.The Red Tour travels to Wetumpka where it will stop at Joe and Patty Lambrecht’s Oakview Farms. In addition to its gristmill, the farm features hydroponically grown lettuce and herbs, free-range eggs, fresh vegetables and more.Then, it’s on to the grounds of Southern Growers, a 280-acre complex that includes 10 acres of greenhouses and 90 acres of nursery fields where they grow shrubs, trees, ground covers, annuals and perennials. The final stop on the Red Tour is Plantation Tree Company, which is known for its quality field-grown trees and ornamentals.The Yellow Tour heads west to check out the state’s aquaculture industry. Odom Farms in Greene County is the first stop where host Dickie Odom produces several aquatic species, including shrimp, bull minnows for the baitfish market and hybrid striped bass. After a lunch break, the tour heads to Marengo County to visit Nathan Diller’s indoor tilapia production facility. The last stop will be in Dallas County where Butch Wilson’s farm is producing catfish in an in-pond recirculating raceway.After a full day of touring, Saturday will be devoted to educational seminars designed to help farmers be more successful and update them on current ag issues. Details on those seminars will be announced at a later date.Also Saturday, the Federation’s Women’s Division will again host its annual luncheon, along with its Cotton Sewing & Quilting Contest. Members who won their respective county contests will compete for cash prizes in the categories of hand-stitched and machine-stitched cotton quilts and handbags or purses.Federation Women’s Director Kim Earwood said she was particularly excited about the new “tablescapes” contest, in which members can enter table settings and dressings featuring any of the Federation’s 17 commodities.”We’re taking a break on the tour this year,” said Earwood, noting that several of the stops they had anticipated visiting were already booked. “Instead, we thought we might be able to spark some new interest with the tablescapes event. It’s going to be fun seeing all the things that our members come up with. We’ve got some very creative people out there.”At Saturday night’s closing banquet, Alfa Dental will present Ian Varella, a ventriloquist who has opened for such notables as the Statler Brothers, Randy Travis and George Strait. Ticket deadline is June 29. For more information or to register, call Ginger Mullins at (334) 613-4293 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bright To Address Federation Commodity Conference