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.
Farmers from Lawrence, Limestone, Talladega and Winston counties took home extensive prize packages, courtesy of generous sponsors.
Winners include Discussion Meet champion Greyson Lauderdale of Limestone County. He 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. Miller Bonds of Limestone County, Caleb Beason of Franklin County and Gavin Rankins of Chambers County were other competitors for the title during General Session II of annual meeting.
Outstanding Young Farm Family (OYFF) winners Brady and Anna Peek were also honored. The Peeks received a prize package worth more than $80,000, 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.
They raise row crops in Limestone and Lauderdale counties and have one son, Ridge. Since beginning their farm in 2010, the Peeks have increased yields and efficiency; expanded to include custom farming and a trucking business; and diversified into raising flowers and sweet corn they sell to local customers. Brady is the State Soybean Committee chair and led the State Young Farmers Committee in 2021.
OYFF competitors must have half their income subject to production risk and compete through an application, interview and on-farm judging.
Additionally, Winston County’s Zack Brannon was recognized for placing as the top competitor in the Excellence in Agriculture contest.
Brannon, the Winston County Extension coordinator, received a zero-turn lawnmower from Corteva Agriscience. He and wife Hannah are raising two daughters, Elliott Grace and Vivie Mae, on their hay and cattle operation.
Brannon won the contest based on an application and presentation. Excellence in Agriculture competitors receive less than half their income from production agriculture.
Whit and Amanda Lovelady of Talladega County and Mitchell and Rebecca Henry of Lawrence County were also honored as OYFF first and second runners-up. Both received $500 from perennial sponsors Alabama Ag Credit and Alabama Farm Credit.
As the first runner-up, the Loveladys received the year’s use of a Kubota tractor from new sponsor Kubota. They raise over 6,000 rolls of hay annually and have Charolais, Angus and commercial cattle in Alpine. They Loveladys have two children, Annagrace and John Luke.
The Henrys received a custom chemical package from Corteva Agriscience as second runner-up. They operate Hardin Farms in Moulton, where they raise stocker calves, have a cow-calf operation and grow many of their own feedstuffs, like corn silage. They have one son, Clint.
OYFF and Excellence in Agriculture champions were announced during Farm & Land Expo. All winners received a custom Young Farmers of Alabama Solo Stove, compliments of the Federation and Alfa Insurance.
The Peeks, Brannon and Lauderdale will represent Alabama during American Farm Bureau Federation national competition in Salt Lake City, Utah, in January.