By Marlee Moore
Young Farmers from Dale and Cherokee counties claimed victories in statewide contests Aug. 7, while four finalists were chosen in the Discussion Meet competition. The contests for 18- to 35-year-old members took place during the Alabama Farmers Federation Farm & Land Expo in Montgomery.
Josh and Savannah McCoy of Midland City in Dale County were named Alabama’s Outstanding Young Farm Family (OYFF). They raise peanuts and cotton, in addition to sons Fields and Sutton, on a multigenerational operation that includes a peanut shelling plant and buying point.
As the OYFF, they win more than $60,000 in prizes, including $35,000 toward a new Ford truck courtesy of Alfa Insurance; a John Deere Gator from Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit; and a year’s lease on a John Deere tractor from AgPro, SunSouth and TriGreen.
OYFF finalists Brady and Anna Peek of Athens in Limestone County and Mitchell and Rebecca Henry of Moulton in Lawrence County received $500 from Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit.
Finalists were named after an interview during the Young Farmers Conference in February. Three judges visited the finalists’ farms in July to decide the winner.
Landon and Lauren Marks of Leesburg in Cherokee County earned first place in the Excellence in Agriculture contest. During the competition, participants showcase agriculture’s role in their lives and present solutions to major hurdles facing agriculture. As the winner, they will receive a zero-turn mower from Corteva Agriscience, in addition to a computer package from Valcom/CSS Wireless. First runner-up was Zack Brannon of Haleyville in Winston County, while Joshua Melson of Somerville in Morgan County was second runner-up.
Additionally, four finalists were named in the Discussion Meet contest. They are Kyle Morris of Hanceville in Cullman County, Leah Mitchell of Geraldine in DeKalb County, Matthew Johnson of Gadsden in Etowah County and Levi Noles of Woodland in Randolph County.
Thirteen contestants participated in the Discussion Meet, which simulates a committee meeting where participants discuss solutions to agricultural issues. The Final Four will compete during the Federation’s centennial celebration and annual meeting in December; the winner will receive a four-wheeler, sponsored by First South Farm Credit.
All contest finalists received a miniature drone from the Federation. State winners will represent Alabama during American Farm Bureau Federation national competition in Atlanta in January 2022.