By Tanner Hood
Alabama Farmers Federation grassroots leaders received high praise when voting delegates elected peers to commodity committees during the organization’s 102nd annual meeting Dec. 3 in Montgomery.
State commodity committees are as effective as ever, said Federation Governmental and Agricultural Programs Department Director Mitt Walker.
“The process of allowing farmers to select the best among their peers for these committees has bolstered each group’s influence and resilience,” Walker said. “These members understand present and future issues facing agriculture. Our exceptional group of commodity directors is prepared to work with every member to determine strategy and make Alabama even better.”
Walker said the Federation relies on policy recommendations from state committees to shape and direct the organization’s work.
For the third year, elections took place during the year-end meeting. Brooks Wall of Shelby County was newly elected to the State Forestry Committee. Wall said he’s looking forward to working with other members to promote and protect Alabama timber land.
“With any large industry, there are complications that will arise.” Wall said. “I’m ready to work with many talented and bright people to solve those problems, grow the forestry business and improve it the best we can.”
State committees provide commodity-specific educational programs across the state throughout the year, in addition to guiding research, promotion and education efforts.
Cade Grace of Walker County said he’s grateful to serve farmers and help ensure checkoff funds are allocated to initiatives that benefit all producers.
“Being on the committee gives us the opportunity to sit with others who might have different perspectives and experiences,” said Grace, who was elected to his second term on the State Soybean Committee. “We’re well represented from all parts of Alabama, so we’ll be able to promote programs that help farmers across the state.”
Federation staff will work with committees to dive deep into distinct issues surrounding each of the organization’s 17 commodities: bee & honey; beef; catfish; cotton; dairy; equine; forestry; greenhouse, nursery & sod; hay & forage; fruit & vegetables; peanuts; pork; poultry; sheep & goat; soybean; wheat & feed grain; and wildlife.
Catfish, fruit & vegetable and peanut elections will be held outside the annual meeting. Catfish producers will meet to vote at Catfish Industry Update Meeting Jan. 11 in Marion Junction. The Alabama Peanut Producers Association and Alabama Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association will gather at their corresponding conferences in Dothan and Gulf Shores to elect members. The affiliated organization Alabama TREASURE Forest Association will vote in 2024.
In addition to elections, state commodity committee members who rotated off committees were honored Dec. 4 for serving the maximum nine years.
- Bee & Honey – Justin Hill, Calhoun County
- Beef – Larry Bowen, Randolph County; Tim Whitley, Blount County
- Cotton – Richard Lindsey, Cherokee County
- Equine – Frank Chirico, Coffee County
- Forestry – Emory Mosley, Washington County
- Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod – Brian Keller, Mobile County
- Hay & Forage – Joe Ching, Mobile County
- Sheep & Goat – Charlie Loveless, Calhoun County; Melissa Palmer, Elmore County
- Wheat & Feed Grain – James Walker, Lauderdale County