Federation board members and agriculture teachers nodded in support while Dorman Grace traced the history of donations Walker County Farmers Federation has given local students, schools and programs.
“I can’t tell you how many times people have told me that shop or agriculture programs have been one of the most important parts of their lives,” said Grace, Walker County Farmers Federation president.
Keeping with that philosophy, the county Federation recently donated $40,000 for a new agriscience facility at Dora High School.
Grace made it clear the Walker County Farmers Federation realized a long time ago its best investment is in people.
During the last 30 years, the county organization gave over $250,000 to help agriculture and career tech programs in Walker County. It helped create half the county’s agriculture programs and has those programs in all high schools except Jasper.
Chris McCullar, Walker County Center of Technology director, said he received a Federation scholarship in the early ‘90s and after graduation came back home. Stories like McCullar’s and higher graduation rates are proof the investment pays off, he said.
“There’s no doubt about it; I wouldn’t be here without help from the Walker County Farmers Federation,” said McCullar, who is on the county Federation board of directors. “I’m extremely proud of our board. They’re about promoting agriculture, making a difference and creating things that will influence communities and kids long after they’re gone.”
A Dora High School senior, Holly Naramore, agreed agriscience courses opened her world and inspired a passion previously unknown.
“I was proud of the gun rack I made,” Naramore said. “I use that and my corn hole boards all the time. This is the only class I look forward to.”
Her teacher, Jared Aaron, said it’s great to see students exceed, but his goal goes much further.
“It’s not just about teaching a kid to build a cabinet,” he said. “It’s about giving them the confidence to try something they’ve never done. Hopefully they can look back later in life and draw from this experience to tackle obstacles they’ve never faced before.”
Grace said farmers, Alfa Insurance agents, the county board of education, parents and students have all bought in to make Walker County a better place.
“We’ve been conservative with money, and that’s what’s enabled us to do this,” Grace said. “But without the support of Alfa agents and the insurance company this wouldn’t be possible. Alfa is about more than insurance and farming; it’s about investing in our communities and taking care of our Alfa family.”