News Federation Honors Extension, AU Agriculturalists for Outstanding Work 

Federation Honors Extension, AU Agriculturalists for Outstanding Work 

Federation Honors Extension, AU Agriculturalists for Outstanding Work 
August 10, 2023 |

By Maggie Edwards

The Alabama Farmers Federation rewarded Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) and Auburn University (AU) professionals for serving Alabama farmers during the organization’s Farm & Land Expo Aug. 10 in Mobile. 

The Rittenour Award for Production Agriculture & Forestry Research was presented to Dr. Steve Li. This recognizes AU faculty for creative research. Li is an associate professor and Extension specialist focused on weed science and received $10,000 from the Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation (AFAF). 

Regional ACES Agent Gerry Thompson received the Duncan Award for Excellence in Production Agriculture & Forestry Extension, plus $5,000 for programming costs, courtesy of AFAF. These are the fifth annual Duncan and Rittenour awards. 

The Federation was honored to present the Rittenour and Duncan awards to these innovative and outstanding agriculturalists, said Federation President Jimmy Parnell. 

“Our farmers need professionals like Dr. Li and Thompson on their side,” Parnell said. “They have implemented new technology, techniques and field days that have helped improve numerous farmers’ bottom lines.”

For more than a year, Federation meetings have had a near-constant agenda item: Spray Drone Demonstration by Li. 

His drone presentations and on-farm research have helped farmers across commodities harness innovative technology for crop protection. 

“I appreciate it very much,” Li said. “I don’t help people for a return. I wasn’t expecting anything, but this is a pleasant surprise. And I think it’s great to know people appreciate what we do.”

For Thompson, his expertise in animal science and forages has taken centerstage for farmers pushing to advance cattle working facilities and expand their hay and alfalfa acreage. 

Thompson serves farmers in Blount, Cullman, Madison, Morgan and Limestone counties. 

“I am proud of this award because one of my best friends and clients (Jaffe Paysinger) nominated me for the honor,” Thompson said. “It is so meaningful to be in the same category as past animal science winners like Dr. Kent Stanford and Dr. Kim Mullenix.”

The Alabama Farmers Federation is the state’s largest farm organization with 350,000 members and is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

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