Cullman and Pike counties claimed the top prizes at the Alabama Farm-City Awards Luncheon April 5 in Birmingham.
The overall award for Best Farm-City Committee went to Cullman County for the sixth consecutive year. County program highlights included a farm-to-fork dinner with 400 attendees and a Farm-City musical at Holly Pond Elementary School featuring 60 talented students.
Alabama Farm-City Committee Chairman Jeff Helms said volunteers statewide invested thousands of hours to foster understanding between farmers and townspeople.
“Generations ago, America was a largely agrarian culture, and almost everyone was involved with the production of food and fiber,” Helms said. “Today, less than 1 percent of Americans farm. Farm-City programs give us an opportunity to reconnect people with their food and the families who grow it.”
Farm-City Week was first observed in 1955 and is celebrated the week before Thanksgiving. However, many county Farm-City committees conduct educational activities year-round.
Cullman County also was judged Best Farm-City Committee in Division I (larger population counties) and earned division awards for Best Farm-City Dinner and Innovative Idea.
Lee County was named runner-up for Division I Best Farm-City Committee and earned the Target Award for emphasizing this year’s theme of “Agriculture: Food for Life.”
Finishing a close second for the overall award was the Pike County Farm-City Committee, which was judged in Division II (smaller population counties). This year, Pike County had an impact statewide
by proposing a partnership between Farm-City committees and local Rotary Clubs to plant a tree for each Rotarian. Informational packets about trees were distributed statewide, and Gov. Kay Ivey joined Farm-City and Rotary officials for a tree planting on the Alabama Capitol grounds.
Pike County also won division awards for Best Media Coverage and Proclamation, Best Farm-City Tour and Best Special Activities. The Division II runner-up was Chambers County, which also earned the division Target and Scrapbook awards.
In addition to county awards, Pike County Farm-City Chairman Randy Hale was honored as Alabama’s Farm-City Volunteer of the Year.
A founding member of the county committee, Hale has served 40 years inspiring others to share the Farm-City vision. Helms said Hale’s tireless work and enthusiasm for Farm-City helped grow the committee from 10 dedicated people to more than 40 leaders representing all sectors of the community.
Also receiving individual recognition was Dr. Richard Guthrie, former dean of Auburn University’s College of Agriculture. He received the Farm-City Service Award for going above and beyond his professional duties in fulfilling the Farm-City mission.
Helms described Guthrie as “a leader not afraid to get his hands dirty.” A member of the Lee County Farm-City Committee since 2010, Guthrie has planned and worked at Farm-City events including farm tours and educational booths at Ag Roundup and Ag Discovery Day.