The sixth class of the Agricultural Leaders for Alabama (A.L.F.A. Leaders) program was recently announced after a rigorous application and interview process. Eighteen participants will join the ranks of Alabama Farmers Federation county presidents, board members, legislators and other leaders at the local, state and national level whose involvement and personal development grew through the premier leadership experience.
A.L.F.A. Leaders is sponsored by the Federation and sharpens the skills of already-proven agricultural community leaders by focusing on personal development, political involvement, effective communication and understanding of the Federation.
The program begins in September and will conclude with a capstone project presentation and graduation at the 2025 Farm & Land Expo. Participants will train in agricultural policy, industry leadership, productive communication and organizational involvement at six seminars in Alabama, Washington, D.C. and a to-be- determined international location.
“We’re proud to offer a program that strengthens the abilities of young agricultural leaders in our state,” said Federation President Jimmy Parnell, a graduate of the Alabama Agriculture and Forestry Leadership Development Program, a forerunner to A.L.F.A. Leaders. “We want to continue developing leaders who not only serve in important Federation roles but in positions to help our state and nation, as well.”
Participants were chosen by an independent selection committee comprised of former class members, Alabama Agriculture and Forestry Leadership Development Program graduates and stakeholders with a vested interest in agriculture leadership development.
Selection is based on criteria related to community involvement and personal ability and characteristics. The program is designed for participants ages 25 to 45 who demonstrate leadership qualities and potential, in addition to strong character, reputation and a sound personal life.
Those chosen for the program are, alphabetical by county:
- Ellie Watson, Autauga County, Sweet Grown Alabama director
- Destry Hopper, Baldwin County, row crop, vegetable and cattle farmer
- Joe Corcoran, Barbour County, row crop and cattle farmer
- Josh McCutcheon, Blount County, poultry farmer
- Isaac Jones, Cherokee County, poultry farmer and veterinarian
- Ali Gotcher, Colbert County, cattle farmer and Extension agent
- Sidney McKathan, Covington County, beekeeper
- Whitney Haynes, Cullman County, row crop and cattle farmer
- Rejeana Gvillo, Hale County, senior commodity analyst
- Nic Cornelison, Jackson County, managing partner at Lake Majestik Cattle Company and construction company president
- Evan Nelson, Jefferson County, cattle and hay producer
- Trevor Collier, Lauderdale County, Poultry and cattle farmer
- Daniel Mullenix, Lee County, cattle farmer and precision ag specialist
- Laura Beth Gamache, Lee County, ag sales representative
- Cara Cornutt, Marshall County, row crop, cattle and agritourism farmer
- Noel Welch, Pike County, poultry farmer and loan officer
- Matt Smith, St. Clair County, sod and cattle farmer
- Sid Phelps, Tallapoosa County, cotton marketing specialist
“This class is a testament to the strong agricultural leadership found in Alabama,” said Federation Young Farmers Director Hunter McBrayer, who is a class IV graduate and helps coordinate the A.L.F.A. Leaders program. “We’re excited to help them on their paths to becoming stronger leaders and servants in their communities and Alabama as a whole.”