Farmers representing 16 Alabama commodities elected leaders, discussed priorities and reviewed research aimed at improving productivity during the Alabama Farmers Federation’s annual Commodity Organization Meeting Feb. 3-5 in Montgomery.
Nearly 600 farmers attended the three-day meeting at the Embassy Suites Hotel where commodity leaders also helped establish Federation policy.
Walker County Farmers Federation President Dorman Grace, who recently switched from poultry farming to row crops, said the meeting keeps farmers abreast of what’s happening in other areas of the state and in other commodities.
“A lot of things in our farming operation have changed going from poultry to row cropping,” Grace said. “My son is back farming with me, and we were able to learn more about soybeans and wheat and feed grains at the meeting. It helped us to listen to the speakers and to learn about the farm bill. Those are things we want to learn more about because they help us on the farm.”
State Dairy Committee member Jim Waite of Covington County said with so few dairies in Alabama, it’s important for dairy farmers to meet and discuss what’s happening.
“We’re so spread out with 38 dairies in 67 counties, this is the only time for us to get to see each other,” Waite said. “The information we got here today was great. I got more information here in five minutes than I do milking cows on the farm all year.”
Federation Governmental and Agricultural Programs Director Brian Hardin said the meeting is an important part of the foundation for the state’s largest farm organization.
“It is the members elected to these state committees who provide the leadership and guidance for the Federation in every area of agricultural production,” Hardin said. “At the annual meeting in December, the Federation’s voting delegates adopted a new policy to enhance the process to nominate active producers who are interested and best qualified to serve on these committees.”
In addition to electing new commodity leaders, the meetings honored outgoing commodity committee members during lunch each day.
Honorees and their committees were Lionel Evans, Limestone County, Bee & Honey; Gerry Holmes, Morgan County, Beef; Lance Whitehead, Fayette County, Cotton; Russ Runyan, Walker County, Forestry; Bonnie Shanholtzer, Autauga County, Equine; Tommy Odom, Mobile County, Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod; Hank Richardson, Cherokee County, Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod; Joe Adams, Bullock County, Horticulture; Mark Pennington, Calhoun County, Pork; Johnny Bryant, Calhoun County, Soybean; and Don Glenn, Lawrence County; Soybean.
Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard was the keynote luncheon speaker for the first meeting day, followed by USDA’s Steve Musser of the Natural Resources Conservation Service on day two and Alabama Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan on the final day.
Farmers met Feb. 12 in Dothan for the Alabama Peanut Producers Association annual meeting. Carl Sanders of Coffee County was reelected APPA president. Also reelected were Mark Kaiser and Joel Sirmon of Baldwin County and Ed White of Henry County. Thomas Adams of Henry County was elected to the board.
Click here to see the full list of leadership appointments.