Alabama farmers have until Jan. 31 to apply for more than $14,000 in cash and prizes as part of the Alabama Farm-City Committee’s Farm of Distinction competition.
State Farm-City Chairman Jeff Helms said the contest honors farms that excel in productivity, environmental stewardship, overall appearance, efficiency and leadership by the farm owners.
“Alabama is blessed with some of the most diverse and innovative farms in America,” Helms said. “From catfish and cattle to peanuts and poultry, these businesses demonstrate the dedication and adaptability of our state’s farmers. As the Farm-City Committee works to increase understanding among rural and urban residents, it’s fitting we spotlight some of our state’s top farms.”
The Farm-City Committee will select up to six finalists from the applications received, and a panel of judges will visit those farms in February. The winner will be announced at the Alabama Farm-City Awards Luncheon April 3 in Birmingham.
Each finalist will receive a $250 gift certificate from the Alabama Farmers Cooperative. The overall winner will receive an engraved farm sign from the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance; a John Deere Gator from SunSouth, TriGreen and Snead Ag Supply dealers; a $1,000 gift certificate from Alabama Farmers Cooperative and a $2,500 cash award from Swisher International. Alabama’s Farm of Distinction will represent Alabama in the Southeastern Farmer of the Year competition at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Ga., Oct. 14-16.
“We appreciate the generous support of our sponsors,” Helms said. “Their participation in the Farm of Distinction program helps honor the men and women who care for our land and fuel Alabama’s largest industry.”
A 2013 economic impact study shows Alabama farms and forests contribute more than $70 billion to the state’s economy and generate 580,000 jobs.
Started in 1955, Farm-City Week is observed the week before Thanksgiving. Across Alabama, hundreds of rural and urban volunteers are involved in tours, banquets, children activities and other events that celebrate the interdependence of farmers and their city neighbors. The accomplishments of these volunteers also will be recognized at the April 3 awards luncheon.
For applications and more information, visit AlabamaFarmCity.org.