By Debra Davis
The state’s largest farm organization reelected President Jimmy Parnell to his fifth two-year term during the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 99th annual meeting in Montgomery Dec. 7.
Parnell, a fifth-generation farmer from Stanton in Chilton County, is a partner in his family’s cattle and timber business. He thanked the voting delegates representing all 67 counties who unanimously reinstated him. Parnell ran unopposed and also serves as Alfa Insurance president.
“I am excited about the opportunity to lead this organization into its 100th year,” Parnell said. “Throughout history, farmers have faced obstacles, and the past year brought special challenges. Despite those, farmers continued to feed and clothe America and the world. Our organization faced its challenges head on and continued to work for farmers every day. As we chart a course for the next century of this organization, we are still led by men and women who are dedicated to serving farmers and promoting the economic, social and educational interests of Alabamians.”
Parnell, 56, is a former State Young Farmers Committee chairman and served on the Federation’s state board from 1999-2008. He was Chilton County Farmers Federation president from 2006-2012.
Joining Parnell in leadership roles were North Area Vice President Rex Vaughn, 61, of Huntsville in Madison County and Southeast Area Vice President George Jeffcoat, 71, of Gordon in Houston County. Both raise cattle and row crops.
Vaughn was reelected to his fifth two-year term. His area covers Blount, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan and Winston counties.
Jeffcoat was also reelected to his fifth two-year term. His area includes Barbour, Bullock, Chambers, Coffee, Coosa, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Elmore, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee, Macon, Pike, Russell and Tallapoosa counties.
Elections were held for four district board positions, which have three-year terms.
John Bert East, 69, of Leesburg in Cherokee County was elected to serve District 3, which includes Cherokee, DeKalb, Etowah and Jackson counties. He is a row crop and cattle farmer.
Phillip Hunter, 51, a nursery owner in Shelby County, was reelected District 6 director. The district covers Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, Randolph, Shelby, St. Clair and Talladega counties.
Bill Cook, 69, of Montgomery County was reelected as District 9 representative, which covers Autauga, Butler, Chilton, Lowndes, Montgomery and Wilcox counties. Cook grows timber and operates a lawn care business.
Thomas Adams, 43, of Newville in Henry County was elected to the District 12 board seat. He represents Dale, Geneva, Henry and Houston counties and raises row crops, cattle and poultry.
Reelected to a one-year, ex-officio term on the state board was Women’s Leadership Committee Chair Kathy Gordon of Montgomery County. State Young Farmers Committee Chairman Brady Peek of Athens in Limestone County will also serve a one-year, ex-officio term.
The Federation has more than 330,000 member families representing all 67 Alabama counties. It is an affiliate of the American Farm Bureau Federation.