The new farm bill, the weather and commodity prices were among the topics farmers discussed during the Alabama Farmers Federation’s annual Commodity Producers Conference Feb. 4-6 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Montgomery.
More than 750 farmers from across the state attended the meeting, where they selected leaders for 16 commodities represented by the Federation. They also set goals and discussed challenges facing their farms. Covington County farmer Ricky Jones said, in addition, the meeting allows farmers to network with each other.
“It’s always interesting to learn new ways of doing things and the different things other farmers are doing on their farms,” Jones said.
Monroe County farmer Scott Saucer is a member of the State Wheat & Feed Grains Committee. He said energy was a hot topic among producers in the meetings he attended.
“We had some discussions about attempts by environmental extremists who want to stop Alabama from using coal to produce electricity and how much that would impact our costs for electricity,” Saucer said. “Farmers use a lot of electricity, and that concerns us. It should be a concern for everyone in the state.”
Saucer said his group also discussed how farmers could benefit from diversification of intellectual property primarily developed by seed companies.
Federation Governmental and Agricultural Programs Director Brian Hardin said the conference is an opportunity for county commodity leaders to set priorities and get updates on issues affecting their farms.
“This conference is one of the Federation’s most important meetings of the year because it brings together leaders in every commodity,” Hardin said. “They share ideas, voice concerns and elect representatives to serve on their state committees. It is especially beneficial to our staff because we have a chance to hear directly from our county leaders about research, market conditions, regulatory challenges and the weather.”
Each day at lunch, outgoing members of state committees were honored with plaques for outstanding service.
Elmore County farmer Richard Edgar was honored Feb. 4 for his service on the State Cotton Committee.
At the Feb. 5 luncheon, Art Sessions of Mobile County was honored for service on the State Horticulture Committee. Blount County farmer Wess Hallman and J.C. Holt of Colbert County were honored for their service to the State Meat Goat & Sheep Committee.
DeKalb County farmer Diane Payton was recognized at the Feb. 6 luncheon for her service to the State Dairy Committee.
During the afternoon sessions each day, state committee members elected new leaders. Members serve three-year terms unless otherwise noted.
* Denotes officers elected to serve a new term for 2014-16.
Newly elected officers and members are:
Bee & Honey – Chairman Bill Mullins of Madison County, First Vice Chairman Joe Lambrecht of Elmore County, Second Vice Chairman Lionel Evans of Limestone County, Hobson Hite of Cullman County, Chuck Purcell of Mobile County, Lindsey Trousdale of Morgan County, and Barry Banks of Walker County.
Beef – Chairman Mike Henry* of Montgomery County, First Vice Chairman Anthony Faggard* of Mobile County, Second Vice Chairman Jim Yance of Henry County, Mahlon Richburg of Lee County and Clay Kennamer of Jackson County.
Catfish – Chairman Will Pearce of Dallas County, First Vice Chairman Butch Wilson* of Dallas County, Second Vice Chairman Paul Wheeler of Perry County, Bill Kyser of Hale County, Kent Houlditch of Greene County and Wayne McLendon of Lee County.
Cotton – Chairman Jimmy Miller of Blount County, First Vice Chairman Neal Isbell* of Colbert County, Second Vice Chairman Walt Corcoran* of Barbour County, Ricky Wiggins of Covington County and Sammy Gibbs of Escambia County.
Dairy – Chairman Will Gilmer of Lamar County, First Vice Chairman Richie Traylor of Randolph County, Second Vice Chairman Mike Ryan of Tuscaloosa County, David Wright of Calhoun County, Thomas Payton of DeKalb County and Robert Middleton of Mobile County.
Equine – Chairman Bonnie Shanholtzer of Autauga County, First Vice Chairman Bryan Hoagland of Shelby County, Second Vice Chairman Scott Noles of Randolph County, Jamie McConnell of Chilton County, Jim Roulaine of Bibb County and Wilene Sherer of Walker County.
Forestry – Chairman John Dorrill of Pike County, Vice Chairman Chris Langley* of Chambers County, Brian Agnew of Bullock County, B.J. Johnson of Cherokee County and Jeremie Redden of Russell County.
Greenhouse, Nursery & Sod – Chairman Phillip Hunter of Shelby County, Vice Chairman Jon Hegeman of Calhoun County, Hank Richardson of Cherokee County, Jason Powell of Chilton County, Ed Dennis of Dallas County and Charles Tew of Elmore County.
Hay & Forage – Chairman Wade Hill of Lawrence County, First Vice Chairman Joe Potter* of Colbert County, Second Vice Chairman Stanley Newton of Chambers County, Winford Parmer of Autauga County, Sarah Reed of Sumter County and Doug Wigginton of Morgan County. Joe Williams of Dale County was elected to a two-year term.
Horticulture – Chairman Joe Adams of Bullock County, First Vice Chairman Allie Corcoran of Barbour County, Second Vice Chairman Jeremy Calvert of Cullman County, Frank Benford of Chambers County, Ken Buck of Mobile County, Mike Reeves of Morgan County, and John Neighbors of Tallapoosa County.
Meat Goat & Sheep – Chairman and American Sheep Industry Representative Jimmy Parker of Cullman County, First Vice Chairman Stacey Nestor* of Montgomery County, Second Vice Chairman Clay Mims of Chilton County, Charlie Thompson of Lauderdale County, Kirk Smith of Blount County and Drexel Johnson of Coffee County. Travis Nelson of Randolph County was elected for a two-year term. Barry Jenkins of Jefferson County was elected for a one-year term. Sam Abney of Autauga County was elected as the American Goat Federation Representative.
Pork – Chairman Mark Pennington of Calhoun County, First Vice Chairman Tim Donaldson of Cullman County, Second Vice Chairman Jon Petree of Franklin County, Wallace Norwood of Greene County, Joe Bradley of Randolph County and Roland St. John of St. Clair County. Johnny Miller of Cherokee County was elected for a two-year term.
Poultry – Chairman Joe Roberts of Fayette County, First Vice Chairman Dennis Maze of Blount County, Second Vice Chairman Tom Duncan of Butler County, Chris Upchurch of Clay County, Mark Byrd of Morgan County and Greg Edwards of Russell County.
Soybean – Chairman Pat Buck of Sumter County, Secretary-Treasurer Don Glenn of Lawrence County, David Bitto of Baldwin County, Rickey Cornutt of Marshall County, Jeremy Wilson of Talladega County and John E. Walker III of Tuscaloosa County.
Wheat & Feed Grains – Chairman Stanley Walters* of Marengo County, First Vice Chairman Andy Wendland* of Autauga County, Second Vice Chairman Dan Rhyne of Lowndes County, Nick McMichen of Cherokee County and Ron Brumley of Colbert County.
Wildlife –Chairman Will Ainsworth* of Marshall County, First Vice Chairman Dell Hill of Talladega County, Second Vice Chairman Lamar Dewberry of Clay County, Mike Parmer of Autauga County, Jimmy Jimmerson of Cleburne County and Trey Montgomery of Greene County.
The Alabama Peanut Producers Association, a division of the Alabama Farmers Federation, held its annual meeting Jan. 30 in Dothan. Committee members elected at the meeting were Glen Walters of Covington County, Jerry Byrd of Dale County and Fred Helms and George Jeffcoat of Houston County. Bert Driskell of Mobile County was elected to represent the Southwest District, which includes Clarke, Conecuh, Mobile, Monroe and Washington counties.
Officers will be elected when the association meets March 6.