Female farm leaders from across Alabama learned how to become better agriculture advocates during the Alabama Farmers Federation’s annual Women’s Leadership Conference in Birmingham April 4-6.
Michele Payn, author and ag advocate, encouraged the 240 Federation members who attended the conference to become better representatives for the 1.5 percent of the population who grow the food for the rest of America and the world.
Butler County’s Sylvia Peterson said the speakers were excellent, but especially liked the Ag in the Classroom workshop where attendees learned to encourage educators to use agriculture in their daily school activities.
“Besides the workshops, entertainment and good food, meeting other ladies from around the state who have a passion for agriculture is a wonderful opportunity,” said Peterson, who raises timber near Greenville with husband Everett. “We learn a lot of good ideas from listening to what other counties are doing to promote agriculture.”
The conference also included a workshop by executive chef Martha Folse, author of “Screen Doors and Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales from a Southern Cook.” The Ag in the Classroom workshop was conducted by Martha Hill and Julia Howell of Alexandria Elementary School.
During the morning breakfast Thursday, Federation leaders delivered an update on upcoming political races, encouraging members to work for candidates who will help farmers and rural Alabama.
“I’ve often said if you want something done, we need to look first to the Women’s Leadership Committees,” said Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “You are the ones we can count on to get things done.”
Conference attendees joined the Alabama Farm-City Awards Luncheon, where many members and their counties were honored for outstanding work for county programs.
“The Women’s Leadership Conference is wonderful opportunity for our members to network with others across the state,” said Federation Women’s Division Director Kim Ramsey. “In addition to learning ways to better promote agriculture through workshops and speakers, county organizations share successful activities they’ve done throughout the year.”
At the conference, county committees hauled in 703 pounds of aluminum pop tabs for Ronald McDonald Houses to help house families with ill children. St. Clair County turned in nearly 124 pounds, and Lawrence County turned in just over 119 pounds.
Conference entertainment included humorist Lisa Smart of Dresden, Tennessee, and Cruizin’ Keys of Nashville, a dueling piano show.
Visit the Federation’s Facebook page for more conference photos.