By Maggie Edwards
A group of elite Young Farmers rose to the top during the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 102nd annual meeting Dec. 4 in Montgomery.
Winners included Discussion Meet champion Greyson Lauderdale of Limestone County, who received a four-wheeler from First South Farm Credit. Discussion Meet simulates a committee meeting where participants discuss solutions to agricultural issues.
Lauderdale was one of four finalists announced during the organization’s Farm & Land Expo in August. He, alongside Miller Bonds of Limestone County, Caleb Beason of Franklin County and Gavin Rankins of Chambers County, competed for the title during General Session II.
Additionally, Winston County farmer and Extension coordinator Zack Brannon was recognized as the Excellence in Agriculture winner. He received a zero-turn lawnmower from Corteva Agriscience and won the contest based on an application and presentation.
Excellence in Agriculture competitors receive less than half their income from production agriculture. Brannon and wife Hannah are raising daughters Elliott Grace and Vivie Mae on their hay and cattle farm.
Outstanding Young Farm Family (OYFF) winners Brady and Anna Peek were also honored.
The Peeks received a prize package worth more than $70,000, including $40,000 toward a new Ford truck, compliments of Alfa Insurance; a John Deere 825i Gator sponsored by Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit; and a year’s lease on a John Deere tractor, thanks to John Deere, TriGreen and SunSouth.
The Peeks raise row crops in Limestone and Lauderdale counties and have diversified their farm to include trucking, custom harvesting and agritourism. They have a son, Ridge.
OYFF competitors must have half their income subject to production risk and compete through an application, interview and on-farm judging.
Whit and Amanda Lovelady of Talladega County and Mitchell and Rebecca Henry of Lawrence County were recognized as OYFF first and second runners-up, respectively. Both received $500 from perennial sponsors Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit.
As first runner-up, the Loveladys received the year’s use of a Kubota tractor from new sponsor Kubota. They raise hay and have Charolais, Angus and commercial cattle. The Loveladys have two children, Annagrace and John Luke.
Meanwhile, the Henrys received a custom chemical package from Corteva. They raise stocker calves, have a cow-calf operation and grow many of their own feedstuffs. They have a son, Clint.
OYFF and Excellence in Agriculture champions were announced during the Farm & Land Expo. All winners received a Solo Stove, compliments of the Federation and Alfa.
Lauderdale, Brannon and the Peeks represented Alabama during American Farm Bureau Federation national competition in Salt Lake City, Utah, in mid-January.