From pastures and gardens to high-tech farming equipment and institutions of higher education, tours and seminars at the Alabama Farmers Federation 43rd Commodity Producers Conference featured a wide range of topics.
More than 800 farmers attended the event July 30 – Aug. 2 in Montgomery. Tours of central Alabama farms and attractions were a highlight of the conference.
“I loved seeing the roses at Petals From The Past and learning the history behind them,” said Shelia Richardson of Cherokee County, who visited Chilton County fruit, vegetable and nursery farms on the red tour. “We are in the greenhouse business, and I love all kinds of plants.”
Covington County Farmers Federation President Kenneth Northey saw horse, forage, sheep, goat and beef cattle farms on the yellow tour.
“I’ve been to the commodity conference before, but this is my first time on a tour,” Northey said. “When you get the chance to visit other farms, you see some changes that may work in your area.”
With the Capital City hosting the conference, a special tour included stops at the Alabama Department of Archives and History and the governor’s mansion, along with a visit to the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance home office.
On Aug. 1, farmers attended educational workshops on agricultural issues including feral hog management, the endangered species act, livestock breeding and the irrigation initiative.
State Climatologist John Christy, PhD, and WSFA Chief Meteorologist Josh Johnson addressed farmers during Saturday’s general session on weather and climate.
At the event’s closing banquet, Federation members welcomed Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) President Zippy Duvall.
Duvall, who has been endorsed by the Federation board of directors in his race for American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) president, told his Southern neighbors he’s committed to the AFBF and its members.
“This organization is not driven from the top to the bottom; it’s driven from the bottom up,” Duvall said. “That’s what makes us so strong.”
Duvall is a poultry, cattle and hay farmer from Greshamville, Georgia. He rose through the ranks of GFB starting in the Young Farmers program, a track similar to that of Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell.
“He shares the values of our members, and he understands the challenges facing Southern farmers,” Parnell said as he introduced Duvall. “Zippy has shown great vision and leadership, and I’m confident he will use those skills to take the nation’s largest farm organization into the future.”
This was the first Farm Bureau group Duvall addressed since announcing his candidacy.
Other highlights from the final day of the conference included an address from Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Spencer Collier and a screening of the “Farmland” film.