In between Pintlala and Hope Hull, where the mud makes you taller with each step, Garrett Henry is eager to step up and assist the organization that has served his family for generations.
“My dad and family have been involved for a long time,” the fourth-generation cattle farmer said of the Alabama Farmers Federation. “It’s almost a part of me. I take ownership in it because it’s something I’ve been around, and I want to be involved and make a difference.”
Garrett said serving on the Young Farmers State Committee as District 6 representative last year, and having the example of his father, Garry Henry, who was recently re-elected to the Federation board of directors as the District 9 representative, will allow him to hit the ground running.
“Family is the most important thing to us, and we all kind of lean on each other and depend on each other,” he said. “It has an impact on everything we do. The Federation is family-oriented, and we’re family-oriented, so it’s an easy transition.”
Garrett and his wife, Emily, got involved in the Young Farmers Division when they started college at Auburn University 14 years ago. Along with expanding their family with daughter Paige, 8, and son Mason, 4, they’ve expanded involvement in the Federation.
“Young Farmers conferences were kind of the things we looked forward to,” Garrett said. “There’s a point in time where you start figuring things out, start plugging in, and all of a sudden, you’re one of the older Young Farmers.
“The Federation has provided so many opportunities. I’ve seen more in the last three or four years than most farmers see in a lifetime because I’ve been able to be more involved.”
Sharing that experience, Garrett said, is his goal as Young Farmers chairman.
“I want to show the younger folks who are just now coming along what it’s all about, why we do what we do, and how it makes a difference,” he said. “We want to continue to look for those young farmers who aren’t involved.”
Specifically, Garrett said he wants to increase participation in the west side of the state by working with state committee members and area organization directors to establish Young Farmers committees in those counties.
“I’m not going to do anything over the top, but I want to make sure the changes and improvements to the Young Farmers program that were made last year, as well as the current programs, go off without a hitch,” he said.
Federation Young Farmers Division Director Jennifer Himburg said history has shown the Young Farmers program helps develop future Federation leaders. She expects Garrett’s tenure to be no exception.
“Garrett’s service as Young Farmers chairman will be a great asset for the Federation and the Young Farmers program,” Himburg said. “His family has demonstrated a true commitment to the Federation, and he understands the value and importance of the work we do — a rare quality for someone his age. Working with young farmers like Garrett is encouraging. I have no doubt we’re building future leaders for our organization.”
Overall, Garrett said he wants to support other young farmers similar to the way help was extended to him over the years.
“It’s not like I deal with a lot of issues,” he said. “But I know if something comes up, whether it be an accident on the farm or a regulation issue, I know people would be there. It eases my mind knowing I have help on the way versus dealing with it by myself.”